Do you need a Pap test every year?

by admin on June 13, 2013

85a_bar_cervicalcancerThe Pap test controversy is something that doctors and patients have been talking about for a while now. Do you need a pap test every year — even if your test results have been fine?

Your gynecologist can tell you his or her own opinion on the topic, research does show the Pap is the most successful cancer-screening method, with an 80 percent or higher success rate in preventing mortality. By detecting precancerous cells early, the Pap has eliminated cervical cancer for the majority of women who would have gotten the big C.

However, there are new recommendations that if your pap is normal, you may not need yearly screening, and this has some women concerned.

Here are a few stats on cervical cancer:

  • The likelihood of a woman getting cervical cancer in her lifetime is less than1.5 percent.
  • The most effective age range for screening is 30 to 69.
  • Starting the screening program later might benefit a woman’s reproductive health in the long run, but the Canadian Cancer Society still recommends 21 as a more appropriate age to begin screening.

So do you need a Pap Test at your upcoming physical?

Maybe. Maybe not. The new recommendation for non-yearly paps may not be for everyone. It all depends on your own personal history age and health factors,  and family background.

Ask your doctor about a screening schedule that’s right for you. In the meantime, you can read more on the Pap Test Controversy here.

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