ASK, ANSWER, LEARN
What are the current recommendations for cervical cancer screening?
Shauna Werth Kronfuss, MD answered:Cervical cancer in the U.S. has decreased more than 50% in the past 30 years because of widespread screening with pap smears with mortality from cervical cancer seeing a similar decrease. Because of this trend, new recommendations for age-specific cervical cancer screenings have been developed.
Routine cervical cancer screening should begin at age 21. Women aged 21–29 years should be tested with a cervical pap smear every 3 years. For women aged 30-65 years, co-testing with a cervical pap smear and human papillomavirus (HPV) test should be performed every 5 years. Alternatively, a cervical pap smear alone may be performed every 3 years. HPV testing should not be used alone for cervical cancer screening. All screenings should be discontinued after age 65 years in women with negative prior screening results and no history of moderate or high grade cervical abnormalities. Women with such history should continue screening for a total of 20 years after regression or treatment, even if it extends past the age of 65.
Routine pap smears also should stop for women who have had a total hysterectomy with removal of the cervix but have never had moderate or high grade cervical abnormalities. In women with a history of moderate to high grade cervical abnormalities, pap smear screening should continue for 20 years even if a hysterectomy has been performed.
Vaccines targeting the human papillomavirus have advanced primary prevention of cervical cancer. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the CDC recommend this vaccine for females aged 9–26 years. Although HPV vaccination is an important step toward cervical cancer prevention, it does not remove the need for routine cervical cancer screening. Women who have received the HPV vaccine should be screened according to the same guidelines as women who have not been vaccinated.
Annual well-woman exams are recommended even if a cervical cancer screening is not performed at each visit. If you would like more details about gynecologic cancer screening, we would look forward to discussing it with you at the Bozeman Deaconess Women’s Specialists Clinic.
SIGN UP FOR OUR PATIENT PORTAL
PATIENT PORTAL GETTING STARTED
As a patient of Bozeman Deaconess Health Group, you can now access important information in your medical record, request an appointment, and communicate with your medical office team online, with the click of a button, anytime of the day or night.
Go To Patient Portal