Government sets new guidelines for pap smears - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/20/09

Government sets new guidelines for pap smears

By Kristin Beerman | email

Edited by Jon Bush | email 

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – Previously, it was recommended that young girls get a pap smear to screen for cervical cancer yearly by age 18.  New guidelines released Friday say pap smears can safely start at 21, and continue every two years, but by age 30, women who've had three consecutive negative pap smears can wait every three years to get the next one. These new guidelines come from the American College Of Obstetricians And Gynecologists. The group explains that cervical cancer grows so slowly and is so rare in young women and treatment for something "suspicious" could be a bigger concern.   

"Many of these early minor precancerous changes that we pick up on pap smears will go away by themselves, based on the patient's own immune response to these changes," said Howard Jones, with Vanderbilt University.

The College Of Doctors say the timing of this recommendation is purely a coincidence that it comes the same week as the controversy over new mammogam guidelines.

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