What's New in Cervical Cancer Screening?

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The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has updated cervical cancer screening guidelines, and for the first time in 75 years, included a method of cervical-cancer screening that does not incorporate the Pap test. These new guidelines update recommendations issued in 2012. According to the USPSTF:

  • women 21 to 29 at average risk should be screened for cervical cancer every three years with the Pap test alone
  • women 30 to 65 years should be screened using a Pap test every three years; or the high-risk human papillomavirus (HrHPV) every five years (the update from the 2012 guidelines); or the HrHPV and Pap test together (co-testing) every five years

Pap tests detect changes that could indicate the presence of precancerous lesions or cervical cancer, and HPV tests detect genetic material of high-risk types of the virus in cervical cells.

Co-testing with the Pap test and hrHPV test is slightly more effective than hrHPV testing alone but may not be beneficial for all women and is associated with higher health care costs.

Sourced from: U.S. Preventive Task Force