Recently the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommended that young women can hold off until age 21 before getting their first Pap smear. They also said that for women to get them every two years through the rest of their 20s, instead of the original rule which was annually. A Pap smear is a test done in women to check for the HPV virus that can cause cervical cancer. Originally a pap smear was to be done 3 years after a woman became sexually active or turned 21, which ever came first. The ACOG claims that the risk of cervical cancer occurring in young women is quite low, hence the new recommendation. Not only has the age for pap smears changed recently, but also for a mammogram test. Women are encouraged to not get a mammogram at age 40 anymore, but to wait until they are 50. All of these recent changes make me wonder…”So much for repeatedly telling women to get tested for cervical and breast cancer at a certain age.”
I guess the docs and nurses know what they are talking about, and it is our job as women to trust them. I work at the BYU Student Health Center and assist on many Pap smears and breast exams daily, so it will be interesting to see if women heed this new counsel.
Check out this other article on Pap smear testing 🙂