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Question: Dr. Fuhrman, is it necessary to have a Pap smear if you've had a hysterectomy with the ovaries left intact? If so, could you please explain why; if not, could you also explain why not? Thank you so much.

Answer: If you had mutiple pap smears in your earlier life and if they were normal, you do not need further pap smears after a hysterectomy. Cervical cancer is caused by the HPV virus in conjunction with low nutrient tissue environment. For example, nuns do not get cervical cancer. If both you and your partner never had any other sexual partners, Pap smears are not needed anyway. Vaginal wall cancer is exceedingly rare and is not worth looking for unless there are risk factors, such as cervical cancer or a history of other cancers.

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