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A New Recommendation For Pap Smear Testing Has Been Released, But This Does Not Mean You Can Skip Your Annual Exam

Dr. Bev Blessing FNP, PHD

A new recommendation for pap smear testing has been released with the opening line of “most women need testing for cervical cancer only every three to five years”. For many readers that statement can sound like most women can begin to skip their annual exams. What the article does not say is probably more important than what it does say.  

The new recommendation is only focusing on screening for cervical cancer in low risk populations. It does not address high risk patients, people with compromised immune systems, those with increased risk factors, changes related to STDs, or many other gynecologic areas of concern. It also does not mention screening for vulva cancer, vaginal cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer or breast cancer, which are routinely a part of the annual exam.  The recommendation is only referring to pap smears. 

What that means for most of us, is that at our annual women’s health exam, during the pelvic portion, a sampling of the cervical fluid will not be tested except every 2-3 years. Everything else stays the same. The bottom line is: To ensure your health as a woman, it is still very important keep your appointment for your annual exam!

Read the recommendation here: http://bit.ly/V1ptIA

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