Cervical Cancer Screening Often Not Followed

Cervical cancer screening guidelines are not being followed

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) For some reason, doctors aren't following the recommended screening guidelines when it comes to cervical cancer. This screening doesn't necessarily have to be performed annually, though it often is. 

An overwhelming majority of primary care physicians still insist on doing annual cervical cancer screenings. And only a small fraction are following the guidelines recommended for screenings when both a pap smear and human papillomavirus (HPV) tests are performed together.

"Ask your doctor about updated cervical cancer screenings."

Both the American Cancer Society and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, recommend that women 30 and older have a combination of a pap smear and an HPV test.

If the results of both tests are normal, the woman doesn't need to be screened for cervical cancer for another three years.

Despite the guidelines, doctors commonly recommend annual screenings that aren't necessary for women who have a history of normal test results.

The CDC reviewed data from CDC's National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey collected in 2006. Study participants included 376 private physicians and 216 doctors from outpatient facilities and hospitals.

The physicians were questioned about their screening recommendations by answering what they would do in three different scenarios. Only 14 percent of those surveyed provided recommendations that adhered to national guidelines.

Lead investigator, Katherine B. Roland, M.P.H., a behavioral scientist in CDC's Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, says adherence to the guidelines is important to ensure that both tests continue to considered a preventive service for women that insurers will continue to cover.

Results of the study have been published online in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology (AJOG).

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
August 19, 2011
Last Updated:
August 21, 2011