A new regime for cervical cancer screening being urged
A group that advises doctors says Canadian women should follow a new regime for cervical cancer screening.
The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care says instead of being screened every year, women should now have the tests at 3 year intervals.
It also recommends that women don't start having routine cervical cancer screening tests until the age of 25.
Dr. James Dickinson headed the working group that drew up the new recommendations for doctors.
He says studies show that there is no benefit to cervical cancer screening before the age of 25, but there are some risks involved for women at that point.
Abnormal test results are not uncommon, because the test picks up lesions caused by infections with the human papillomaviruses (pap-ill-LOW'-mah viruses).
Most of those lesions would heal on their own and not go on to cause cancer, but once they are spotted women often have to undergo additional testing and treatments.
The new guidelines suggest women should be screened until age 69; at that point a woman who has had 3 successive negative tests can drop out of the screening program.