Today’s Virginian-Pilot (October 23, 2012) contained an article titled “Report: most women can get Paps every 3 to 5 years”. It is posted below in case you missed it.
Our GYN doctors agree with the article and for some time now have done less frequent than annual Pap smears in certain women.
The one point we at Gynecology Specialists would like to make is that although women may not need a Pap smear every year, they still need an annual Gyn exam, which includes a breast exam; a pelvic exam to detect any vulvar, cervical, uterine, or ovarian pathology like vulvar lesions, ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids, and infections; and screening for sexually transmitted infections.
The well-woman visit has always been more than just a “Pap smear,” and the decreased need for cervical screening actually constitutes a minor change to an important aspect of a woman’s health care.
REPORT: Most women can get Paps every 3 to 5 years
By The Associated Press - 10/23/2012
Most women can wait three to five years between checks for cervical cancer, depending on their age and test choice, say guidelines issued Monday.
Many medical groups have long recommended a Pap test every three years for most women. The new advice from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says that’s true for women ages 21 to 29 whose Paps show no sign of trouble.
But for healthy women ages 30 to 65, the preferred check is a Pap plus a test for the cancer-causing HPV virus, the group concluded. If both show everything’s fine, they can wait five years for further screening.
The guidelines from the nation’s largest OB-GYN organization agree with advice issued earlier this year by a government panel, the American Cancer Society and other medical groups – showing growing consensus that it’s safe for the right women to wait longer between Paps.
Cervical cancer grows so slowly that regular Pap smears, which examine cells scraped from the cervix, can find signs early enough to treat before a tumor even forms.
Certain strains of HPV, the human papillomavirus, cause most cervical cancer, but the infection has to persist for a number of years to do its damage. HPV is a common virus in young women, whose bodies usually clear the infection on their own. So health groups don’t recommend routinely testing 20-somethings for HPV because it would cause too many false alarms.
A Pap averages around $40; HPV tests can add another $50 to $100.
The guidelines also say:
• Women 30 and older still can choose a Pap alone every three years.
• Screening shouldn’t begin before age 21.
• Women older than 65 can end screening if previous testing hasn’t found problems.
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If you are due for a Pap Smear, Annual GYN Exam, Cervical Cancer Screening, Breast Exam, or Pelvic Exam to screen for Vulvar Lesions, Ovarian Cysts, Uterine Fibroids, and Sexually Transmitted Infections, and live in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Eastern Shore, Peninsula, Hampton Roads or North Carolina, please contact our GYN clinic at (757) 312-8221. Our GYN doctors are here to help you.
About our GYN Clinic
Our three female GYN doctors and Nurse Practitioner provide comprehensive gynecology services to women and girls of all ages in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Eastern Shore, Peninsula, Hampton Roads and North Carolina. Our health care includes Pap Smear, Annual GYN Exam, Breast Exam, Pelvic Exam, Vulvar Lesions, Ovarian Cysts, Uterine Fibroids, Sexually Transmitted Infections, Cervical Cancer Screening, and more.