Now Panel Urges Delay in Pap Test

Docs' group advises later start, every 2 years for cervical cancer test
By Emily Rauhala,  Newser User
Posted Nov 20, 2009 7:35 AM CST
Updated Nov 20, 2009 7:46 AM CST
New guidelines say American women should have fewer Pap smears.   (Shutter Stock)

(Newser) – The screening cutbacks continue. Just days after the government announced more conservative guidelines for mammograms, a major medical body says women should begin having Pap smears for cervical cancer later and less frequently. The new guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists say women don't need to be tested until age 21, even if they are sexually active earlier, and women of all ages should wait two years, instead of one, between tests.

Anticipating anger over the change, a Cancer Society rep tells the Los Angeles Times the revision is "not motivated to save money." In the case of cervical cancer, less testing is required because the disease progresses slowly, and precancerous cells often remain unchanged or go away, researchers say. But doctors worry that without the test, women may skip their annual check-up.