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U.S. Cancer Groups Release Their Own Cervical Cancer Screening Guidelines
Date:10/19/2011

By Denise Mann
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Three leading U.S. cancer groups have proposed new guidelines for cervical cancer testing for women, including when to start screening for sexually active young women, extending intervals between screenings and in some cases, supplementing the traditional Pap test with human papilloma virus (HPV) testing.

The American Cancer Society, the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology and the American Society for Clinical Pathology joined to create the guidelines, which advise women to get fewer screenings over their lifetime and that women 65 and older with a history of normal Pap tests can stop altogether.

The guidelines also call for combination HPV-Pap testing in women aged 30 and older, placing stronger emphasis on HPV testing than another set of guidelines officially released at the same time, from an independent and influential government panel.

That government panel, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), is reaffirming the Pap test as the best way for women aged 21 to 65 to spot cervical cancer, saying it "substantially" cut the number of deaths from the disease.

The USPSTF remains cautious on the use of the human papillomavirus (HPV) blood test to detect cervical cancer. It moved against the use of the HPV test in women under the age of 30, and said that evidence was still lacking on its risks vs. benefits to recommend it in women aged 30 and older.

The three cancer groups said they coordinated Wednesday's release with the USPSTF to "enable stakeholders to consider both sets of recommendations concurrently with the goal of creating consistent guidance that will lead to less confusion for providers and the public."

The USPSTF looks over the latest evidence-based research to come to its recommendations, which are closely watched by physicians and insurance companies. The panel's decisions are o
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