There is good evidence that cervical cancer screening significantly reduces the incidence of and mortality from cervical cancer. The US Preventive Services Task Force suggests most of the benefit can be obtained by beginning screening at age 21. Recommendations include screening for women ages 21 through 64 with cytology (Pap smear) at least every 3 years and for women ages 30 through 64 who want to lengthen the screening interval, screening with a combination of cytology and human papillomavirus (HPV) testing every 5 years. An individuals specific clinical considerations, risk factors, etc. determine if testing is needed at a more frequent interval. It is recommended that women speak with their health care providers to determine the appropriate interval for their particular situation. There is limited evidence to determine the benefits of continued screening in women older than 65, due to declining incidence of high-grade cervical lesions after middle age. There is fair evidence that screening women older than 65 is associated with an increased risk for potential harm (US Preventive Services Task Force). Therefore, it is also recommended that women over age 65 speak with their health care providers to determine if continued screening is appropriate for their personal medical condition.
Disclaimer: Measures reported by WCHQ healthcare
organizations represent a specific aspect of care in relation to an
evidence-based standard, but are not clinical guidelines and do not establish
standards of care.