Cervical Cancer Screening Not Urged for All
Women who have never had sexual intercourse, women who have had hysterectomies including removal of the cervix for reasons other than cancer, and women who have had 3 normal Pap tests in a row can skip Pap tests or have them less often. The American Cancer Society (ACS) has issued new guidelines that advise that women in these categories are at a lower risk of developing cervical cancer because the majority of cases are caused by human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted disease.
The guidelines suggest that cervical cancer screenings should begin about 3 years after a woman begins having sexual intercourse, and this screening should be done annually for sexually active women. These guidelines were published in the November-December 2002 issue of the ACS? journal CA.