Friday, May 20, 2011

Preventive Cervical Screen

So here's an interesting article I recently read about the recommended frequency of the dreaded pap smear.  For the longest time, women have been told to get annual pap smears.  Few years ago, new guidelines allow screens to be spaced out to every 2-3 years for women over 30 and who have had 3 normal pap smears in a row and who test negative for both the pap smear and high risk hpv.  

This article reports on a study of over 300,000 women confirming the validity of these new guidelines.  So even though the guidelines came out a few years ago, many practitioners and patients have been tentative in following the spaced out schedule.  For me personally, I gladly will follow these more spaced out guidelines (who has time with little ones around... and it is not the most pleasant screen).  I also feel a lot more confident about advocating this to my patients.

Why do we test for cervical cancer anyway?  Here are some interesting facts:

Top Causes of Death in Women:

  • Heart Disease
  • Cancer
  • Stroke
Top Causes of Cancer Deaths in Women (worldwide and not counting skin):
  • Breast
  • Lung
  • Cervical