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New Guidelines for Cervical Cancer Tests

New guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) push back the age of first screenings for cervical cancer and recommends screenings be done less often.  Cervical cancer is caused by certain strains of the human papillomavirus or HPV.

According to the new guidelines, women should have their first screening for cervical cancer at age twenty-one.  Women younger than thirty should be screened every two years instead of annually as recommended in the 2003 guidelines.  Also, women thirty years of age or older can be examined once every three years.

The guidelines also say that women can stop having Pap tests between sixty-five and seventy if they have three or more negative tests in a row and no abnormal test results in the last 10 years.

The changes do not apply to women with certain health problems that could make them more prone to aggressive cervical cancer, including HIV infection or other condition that would lead to a suppressed immune system.

ACOG also recommends that women who have been vaccinated against HPV should follow the same screening guidelines as unvaccinated women.

The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be 11,270 new cases of cervical cancer and 4,070 deaths from it in the US in 2009.

For more free information about cervical cancer, see the cervical cancer attorneys of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.