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For many years, every woman has associated getting a screening pap smear at the time of their annual gyn exam.   However, as with all clinical recommendations, these protocols can change over time based extensive research.  Screening for precancer and cancer cells of the cervix is one of the areas that have been extensively revised.   The research was conducted by national organizations such as The American Cancer Society, American Society for Colposcopy & Cervical Pathology, and the American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology.  These entities provide guidelines for cancer screening and treating related high risk medical conditions.  Be assured that these changes are based on solid medical research and not on insurance cost saving measures.

The new guideline recommends a Pap smear every 3-5 years on women who are not considered at high risk for cervical cancer.  Your provider will conduct a thorough history and physical exam at the time of your visit and discuss with you specific risk factors that may require a pap smear more frequently.  

The reason we can now extend the screening interval for pap smears is due to our greater understanding of the significance of HPV (Human Papillomavirus) in the development of cervical cancer.  Specifically, when HPV is not detected at the time of screening, the development of cervical cancer in the next 5 years, is almost non-existent.  As a result, the screening intervals can be widened without detrimental effect to your health.  This spacing of the screening interval actually decreases potential unnecessary testing and treatment that has been so common in years past.  On the other hand, the presence of HPV DOES NOT mean that you will develop cervical cancer.  It simply indicates that we may need to perform Pap smears and HPV screening more frequently than every 3-5 years.  Most patients that test positive for HPV will never develop cervical cancer.

It is important to recognize that a pap smear is NOT a screening tool for uterine or ovarian cancer. 

Lastly, is still imperative that you continue to schedule your Gyn exam, which includes a complete physical exam, clinical breast exam and pelvic exam, EVERY YEAR.  We also want you to understand that the recommendations for mammograms continue to be annually from age 40.

We recognize that these can be complicated issues and confusing when there are changes to recommendations so please do not hesitate to ask questions.  Our providers and clinical staff are happy to provide you with the most up to date information and based on your individual clinical history.

Voorhees office: 2401 Evesham Road, Suite A, Voorhees, NJ 08043
Phone: (856) 424-3323 Fax: (856) 424-4994

Moorestown office: 110 Marter Avenue, Suite 504, Moorestown, NJ 08057-3116
Phone: (856) 642-6580 Fax: (856) 273-8372

Garden State OB/GYN complies with applicable Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex. We treat everyone with dignity and respect. We are also LGBTQ friendly.

Garden State Obstetrical & Gynecological Associates, an Axia Women's Health Care Center
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