New PAP Testing Guidelines

A government agency recommends women get screened for cervical cancer every three years, rather than annually.

The US Preventive Services Task Force says yearly PAP tests are unnecessary, and that most cervical cancer cases are found in women who haven't been screened in at least 5 years, if ever. The task force also recommends PAP tests start at age 21 and end after age 65.

The American Cancer Society has proposed similar guidelines independently of the task force., and also recommends women over age 30 should be screened with both the PAP and HPV tests every three years.

While HPV tests are newer and can detect more cancers, the task force says there's not enough evidence that it should replace the PAP test.

The HPV test is more expensive than the PAP, but the task force does not consider cost in its analysis.


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  • by student on Oct 20, 2011 at 10:46 AM
    21? With girls having sex as early as 12 or 13, with multiple partners, most of them would have full blown cancer by 21! Unless of course they were actually getting the cervical cancer vaccine at the recommended age, which would make this plausible. And I can't stand the uppity moral arguments about the vaccine. My mother was infected with HPV from my father and has struggled with the cancer for 25 years now. So she was adamant that I get the cancer vaccine when I was a teenager, and with all the girls I know who now have to suffer with it I am very thankful. Even if a girl waits until marriage to have sex, unless the guy waited too, she could still be infected and end up with cancer. We also vaccinate our children against Hepatitis, which is an STD. People need to stop and just do something good for their daughters.
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