Updated: Tuesday, 04 Dec 2012, 5:00 PM EST
Published : Thursday, 06 Dec 2012, 7:00 AM EST
Grand Rapids, Mich (WOTV) - Pap Smear recommendations continue to change and many women find them confusing. We have spent decades convincing women on the benefits of yearly Pap Smears – and it feels very scary to follow these new recommendations.
2 goals of screening: identify and treat abnormalities which are likely to progress to cancer-at the same to avoid identifying lesions which are highly unlikely to progress to cancer and therefore avoid unnecessary treatment.
Age to begin screening = 21
Ages 21 – 29 –Pap Smears every 3 years. HPV testing is not used in this age group as HPV infections in this age group are usually benign and transient.
Ages 30 – 64: Preferred Pap Smears and HPV testing every 5 years. Although Pap every 3 years is acceptable.
Age > 65 – with adequate prior screening and no abnormality greater than moderate dysplasia within the last 20 years-do not need to continue to have Pap Smears. Women who have had hysterectomy and have not had moderate dysplasia or more severe lesions do not need Pap Smears anymore.
Women should still continue to have yearly visits with their gynecologist for age and lifestyle specific health maintenance, recommendations and management.