Changes to the recommended frequency of cervical cancer screening.
Women ages 30 to 65 may decide how often they want to get screened for cervical cancer depending on the test they choose, according new draft recommendations for cervical cancer screening from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Testing every three years requires a Pap smear, and testing every five years requires a test for human papillomavirus (HPV), the virus that causes nearly all cervical cancers.
“A woman going to her provider for a visit would want to talk with her doctor about the last time she was screened, what type of screening she had, which one to have next and what the timing of that should be,” says Maureen Phipps, chair of obstetrics and gynecology at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University in Providence, R.I., and a member of the task force. The draft recommendations update the 2012 USPSTF recommendations.
Every year in the US, nearly 13,000 women develop cervical cancer and just over 4,000 die from it, according to the American Cancer Society. “We really want to emphasize that cervical cancer is a devastating disease and that screening is very important,” Phipps says. “We want to catch it at an early stage so we can begin treatment.”
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