29 Aug Cervical Cancer: Women Should Discuss PAP Smear, HPV Testing or Both With Their Health Care Provider
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Carol Mangione, M.D., M.S.P.H., F.A.C.P.
Division Chief of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research
Professor of Medicine
Barbara A. Levey, MD, and Gerald S. Levey, MD, endowed chair in Medicine David Geffen School of Medicine University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
professor of public health at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Screening for cervical cancer saves lives by identifying cervical cancer early when it is treatable. Most cases of cervical cancer occur in women who have not been regularly screened or treated, which is why it’s important for women to get screened regularly throughout their lifetime with one of several effective options.
Women ages 21 to 29 should get a Pap test every three years.
Women ages 30-65 can choose between three approaches, depending on their preferences: a Pap test every three years, an HPV test every five years, or a combination of a Pap test and an HPV test every five years. There are some women who don’t need to be screened for cervical cancer including women younger than 21, women older than 65 who have been adequately screened in the past and are not at high risk, and women who have had a hysterectomy.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: It’s important for women to get screened for cervical cancer regularly, depending on their age and situation.Doctors have a number of options for making informed decisions with their patients about screening methods, and women should discuss with their doctor which testing strategy is best for them, whether that might be a Pap test, an HPV test, or both.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: We still need more research to evaluate whether different screening strategies, such as self-testing for HPV, could play a part in reducing deaths from cervical cancer. More research is also needed to improve follow-up within current screening strategies, as well as to ensure equitable access to screening for cervical cancer and follow-up treatment especially for women with low income, who live in rural areas, or who are from minority groups that have a greater likelihood of being diagnosed with cervical cancer because of lack of access to regular screening.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: It’s important to note that this recommendation is not about annual well-woman visits; it is only about screening women without signs or symptoms for cervical cancer. Many women and their doctors use an annual appointment as an opportunity to discuss other health problems and issues, which are critical conversations to help them stay healthy.
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