Women, that annual cervical cancer screening is no longer necessary, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says.
Most women can wait to be screened every three-to-five years, the organization said in its new guidelines announced Monday.
Some details of the new recommended guidelines
— For women ages 30-65 who have had negative results: Co-screening every five years, Pap test combined with a test for the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV).
— Women ages 21-29 should be screened once every three years instead of once every two years.
— Screening (Pap test or HPV testing) isn’t advised for women under age 21.
— Women over age 65: Cervical cancer screening should be discontinued for women over this age, with these conditions: No history of certain cervical conditions or cancer and three consecutive negative Pap tests or two consecutive negative co-test resuts in the past 10 years, with the most recent test done within the past five years.
Cervical cancer used to be a leading cause of death for women, but over the past three decades the death rate has declined significantly due to regular screening. Now, most cervical cancer deaths occur among women who were never screened or who were inadequately screened, the obstetrics/gynecology organization says.
Even though the recommended screening interval is being lengthened, women still need to get their annual well women visits, the organization urges.
The new guidelines are aligned with those released earlier in the year by the American Cancer Society and the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology, the organization said.