Anyone with a cervix who is lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, non-binary or two-spirited, over the age of 25, and have ever been sexually active needs to be screened for cervical cancer. Talk to your healthcare provider about what’s right for you.
Trans women and cervical cancer screening
If you’re a trans woman, you may not have given much thought to having a Pap test or your risk of getting cervical cancer. And if you haven’t had bottom surgery, then you’re not at risk of cervical cancer. But if you’ve had bottom surgery to create a vagina and possibly a cervix, then you may want to think more about screening for cervical cancer.
There isn’t very much information about cervical cancer in trans women because the risk of cancer depends on the type of tissue used to create your vagina and cervix. Here are some things to consider:
If you’ve had bottom surgery, there is a small risk that cancer can develop in the tissues of your neo-vagina or neo-cervix. For this reason, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider and consider having regular Pap tests.
You may be at a higher risk of cervical cancer if you have a history of HPV infections or have a condition that weakens your immune system.
Trans men and cervical cancer screening
If you’re a trans man, no matter where you are on the transmasculine/female to male gender spectrum, if you have a cervix, it’s important to think about cervical cancer screening.
- If you have had a hysterectomy, you may still need to be screened for cervical cancer. Here are some things to consider:
- If you’ve had a hysterectomy or a partial hysterectomy that left your cervix intact, then you should be going for regular Pap tests.
- If you’ve had a complete hysterectomy that included the removal of your cervix and you have no history of abnormal Pap tests, then you may not require regular Pap tests.
- If you’ve had a complete hysterectomy that included the removal of your cervix and you do have a history of abnormal Pap tests, then you may still require regular testing. Similar to a Pap test, a sample of cells would be taken from your vaginal vault and sent to the lab for testing (sometimes referred to as a vault smear).
If you’re taking testosterone, you will still need to be screened for cervical cancer. It’s important to be aware that testosterone can sometimes cause changes in the cells of your cervix that look like pre-cancerous cells. It’s very important that your healthcare provider and the lab know that you are taking testosterone because hormones can affect your Pap test results.
It can be difficult to make cervical screening a priority, especially if you’re concerned about experiencing discrimination. Talk to your healthcare provider about your personal screening needs and ways to make screening more comfortable for you.
WORDS ARE IMPORTANT
We recognize that many trans men and people on the transmasculine/ female-to-male gender spectrum may feel uncomfortable with the terms cervix and vagina or prefer other terms, like “front hole.” We use these terms, in the interest of simplicity, in recognition of their limitations.