Too-Frequent Cancer Screenings May Do More Harm Than Good
Until a few years ago, annual cervical cancer screening exams were widely accepted as a smart preventative method for women. Scientific evidence, however, has resulted in recommendations by the American Cancer Society that women get screened less frequently.
Recent research shows that screening for cervical cancer more frequently than now recommended can result in physical and/or psychological harm. One study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, found that annual tests often produce results that are abnormal but non-cancerous and of “uncertain importance.” This often leads to more invasive testing that causes excessive worry and brings physical risks, researchers said.
Still, cervical cancer screenings can be a significant preventative measure. The key to getting the most out of your visits is being educated about how often to get screenings, who is most at-risk for cervical cancer and why screenings are important for your health.
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Read more about cervical cancer, including its causes, symptoms and warning signs, here.
"New Cervical Cancer Screening Recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and the American Cancer Society/American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology/American Society for Clinical Pathology." The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. N.p., 14 Mar. 2012. Web. 12 Aug. 2013. <http://www.acog.org/About ACOG/Announcements/New Cervical Cancer Screening Recommendations.aspx>.
Physicians Slow to Implement HPV Vaccination and Cervical Cancer Screening Guidelines. Elsevier. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 9 July 2013. Web. 12 Aug. 2013.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Outdated Practice of Annual Cervical-cancer Screenings May Cause More Harm than Good. UNC News. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 9 July 2013. Web. 12 Aug. 2013. <http://uncnews.unc.edu/content/view/6111/107/>.
"Warning Signs of Cervical Cancer." HealthCentral. Remedy Health Media, n.d. Web. 12 Aug. 2013. <http://www.healthcentral.com/sexual-health/h/warning-signs-of-cervical-cancer.html>.