Older women


The risk of cervical cancer increases with age, so it is important for women to continue having regular Pap tests until they turn 70.

About half of all cases of cervical cancer occur in women older than 50 years, yet many women over this age think they are not at risk from the disease.

Cancer Council Victoria research shows:

  • old women are still at risk of cervical cancer
  • women over 50 are far more likely than younger women to die from cervical cancer
  • in 2012-2014, 75% of cervical cancer deaths were in women aged over 50 years.

Women still need to have regular Pap tests:

If you have had two normal Pap test results in the five years before you turn 70, you can stop having Pap tests. After 70, the risk of developing cervical cancer after having regular, normal Pap tests throughout your life is minimal.

If you have not had regular Pap tests or have had abnormal results from recent Pap tests, you may need to keep having Pap tests for a few more years. Ask your doctor or nurse for advice. 

For more information view the information sheets Pap tests and women over 50 or Pap tests and women over 70

Cancer Council Helpline