• 4 months ago

    Do I still need these EVERY year?

    AT my last GYN visit, my doctor said since I had never had an "abnormal" Pap smear, was post-menopausal, monogamous for 20+ years and human papilloma virus negative, I only needed a Pap smear every 3 years. I was thinking I NEVER need another one. Same with a mammogram; have never had an abnormality BUT have very dense breast tissue and the GYN DID suggest the next time I have one, to do it via MRI instead. My insurance won't cover this; when I get to a certain age I'm positive Medicare won't cover it, either [I'm 58]. Can I FINALLY never have to "ride the iron pony" or have my breasts "slammed in the refrigerator door" again? Any suggestions from an expert or from experience?


  • RE: Do I still need these EVERY year?

    Dear Anonymous,
    there are many different guidelines available on health testing for women. Most experts would recommend a Pap smear every three years until age 65. Medicare does cover paps every two years after age 65 if you and your provider would like to continue to do them. As far as mammogram recommendations, most experts would recommend that you continue to do them at least every two years, with a stopping date which is variable. Some guidelines suggest 70, some 75-and some experts will continue to recommend them even at older ages. As far as the dense breasts: unless you are very high risk (strong family history of breast cancer, for example) most experts would recommend a breast ultrasound as well, but not an MRI. Mammography is usually covered by insurance; unfortunately, most states do not mandate coverage of the ultrasound-it often is "covered" meaning it goes towards your deductible, but you will often pay out of pocket. Do check with your insurers on coverage.
    Good luck,
    Mary Jane