Friday, January 9, 2015

Importance of Cervical Cancer Screenings

Pap Smear Screening Guidelines...

By Kirsten Wengeler, APNP

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month. This month is a chance to raise awareness and inform women about how they can protect themselves from HPV (human papillomavirus) and cervical cancer. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease and it's also a major cause of cervical cancer.

The purpose of the new recommendations is to maximize the benefits of screening tests while minimizing potential harm.

Did you know?
  • New Pap smear screening technology (liquid based testing) has become available.  These new technologies provide greater sensitivity to detect precancer and cancer.
  • Current evidence shows that HPV (Human Papillomavirus) causes cervical cancer.  Research demonstrates that most young women will clear cervical HPV without intervention.
  • Cervical cancer is a slow growing cancer, often taking many years to develop.
The following are the most up-to-date cervical cancer guidelines:
  • Begin screening by Pap smear at age 21
  • Ages 21-29 - Pap smear every 3 years
  • Ages 30-65 – Pap smear every 3 years or preferably Pap smear with HPV test (co-testing) every 5   years
  • Stop testing at age 65 (except for special circumstances)
  • Stop testing in women who have had a hysterectomy (removal of uterus and cervix) (except for special circumstances)
Evidence shows that an annual Pap smear is not necessary to prevent death from cervical cancer.  The new screening guidelines save as many lives as annual screening, but with half the number of colposcopies and fewer false-positive tests. 

“We are screening less often, but we’re screening smarter.” Dr. Diane Solomon of the Breast and Gynecologic Cancer Research Group in the National Cancer Institute’s Division of Cancer Prevention.

Please note:  It is still recommended to have an annual preventative exam including a breast and pelvic exam even though cervical cancer screening can now be done less frequently. 

About Women’s Care of Wisconsin The providers at Women’s Care of Wisconsin are devoted to you and your health. That means having the most advanced techniques, up-to-date educational information and a compassionate, caring staff. Our providers offer a well-rounded approach to your OB/GYN care, one that meets both your physical and emotional needs throughout every phase of your life. We call it our Circle of Care. From adolescence through menopause and beyond, you can depend on us. Meet our providers and learn more about gynecology, pregnancy care, midwifery, infertility, procedures and surgery, incontinence, osteoporosis, menopause and more at or call 920.729.7105 for any questions or concerns.