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Health Team

New guidelines released for cervical cancer screening

Posted March 15, 2012
Updated March 16, 2012

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— A government task force and other health groups agree on changing the frequency of screening for cervical cancer. They now recommend that women ages 21 to 65 get a Pap test every three years.

Previously, women were encouraged to have a Pap test every year.

"It is as effective in reducing cancer deaths as annual screening, but we have substantially (fewer) false positive tests," said Dr. Wanda Nicholson of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

Low-risk women over the age of 30 can be tested every five years if they get an human papillomavirus (HPV) test at the same time as their Pap test.

Doctors say that over-screening can lead to unnecessary procedures and increase pregnancy complications. However, many gynecologists think that waiting to test for HPV until age 30 is too risky.

"To blanketly say in these low-risk patients five years is appropriate might be a stretch too far," said Dr. Sharyn Lewin of New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center.

The new recommendations for less frequent screening do not mean that women should skip their annual checkups, according to physicians.

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  • lisa4 Mar 22, 2012

    REALLY????????????? I believe every year is better than every 3 or so years. A lot can take place within that time frame. What is wrong with this world? I have been getting a pap smear once a year ever since I was about 16...I am 51!!!!!!!!!!!!! Maybe some of these top paid folks at the WHITEHOUSE need to cut their salaries & give this money to those who need it to pay for medical care:)

  • baracus Mar 20, 2012

    "Jus_Sayin, I agree... I've seen too many woman have a negative result and return a year later with a positive."

    I don't get it. How else would it work? One test is negative, you get the disease, and the next test is positive. You would see the same thing if you tested monthly, yet "only" testing once a year is okay but every three years is an outrage.

  • staceylea72 Mar 20, 2012

    Jus_Sayin, I agree...
    I've seen too many woman have a negative result and return a year later with a positive. I'm sorry but it may be over testing but early detection and a life saved is worth it in my opinion.

  • shawn36003 Mar 20, 2012

    Do not re-elect the man responsible for "OBAMACARE" because he should name it "OBAMBCARESNOT".

  • baracus Mar 20, 2012

    "Have you noticed that ever since OBAMACARE passed many of these routine tests have now all of a sudden been deemed as getting carried out too frequently? "

    Unless you have been advocating for quarterly pap smears, you must hate women. I mean, every three months must be better than every twelve, right?

  • Jus_Sayin Mar 20, 2012

    I think that yearly testing is what we need. Why change things that are working fine?

  • whatelseisnew Mar 20, 2012

    Have you noticed that ever since OBAMACARE passed many of these routine tests have now all of a sudden been deemed as getting carried out too frequently? Keep in mind that as the Feds change these things, many insurance companies will only cover the tests at the intervals the Government deems as necessary.
    Why is the media not outraged over the unfair treatment of women in this manner. First it was chest tests, now it is pap tests. Seems to me this is much more meaningful than that dumb argument about paying for contraceptives for everyone that uses them, medical need or not. But hey, as I have indicated all along the only way the Government can control cost is to deny treatment, and this is only the first round of cuts you will see come down the pike. It will not take long after 2014, for Seniors to start being denied treatment.