Screening for cervical cancer may soon take on a very different look. New recommendations may not include that long used pap test.
Pap smears used to detect cervical cancer could become less common according to researchers who found testing for the virus which causes the disease could be just as effective for many women.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), an independent body which makes evidence-based recommendations on preventing disease, advised women aged 21 to 29 years old to have a the pap test, or cervical cytology test, every three years. But in its updated guidance, it stated women aged between 30 to 65 years old can undergo a cervical cytology test every three years, a high-risk human papillomavirus test alone every five years, or a combination of the two every five years.
This is the first time the USPSTF has recommended a method of cervical cancer screening that does not include the pap test for women age 30 to 65.
A recent report showed that our state does particularly well when it comes to early detection of both breast and cervical cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, “about 13,240 new cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed (across the nation this year) and about 4,170 women will die from cervical cancer.”
We have provided a number of links below to additional stories about the new cervical cancer recommendations. Once you’ve had a chance to look a few of them over, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Driving important conversations around the health issues affecting the people of our state is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!