The real importance of getting a pap smear and pelvic exam

April 13, 2015 9:00 AM

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The real importance of getting a pap smear and pelvic exam

In 2012, I was shocked to learn that new guidelines issued by the The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists stated that women should wait three to five years between pap smears, which are the primary method of screening for cervical cancer. Thanks to that recommendation, which has influenced insurance company policies, annual pap tests are no longer the standard of care today— and I see that as a huge problem.

For one, the three- to five-year interval between screening tests for women ages 21 to 65 doesn’t take into account the several risk factors that boost a woman’s chance of developing cervical cancer, such as multiple sexual partners, a weakened immune system that occurs with smoking, and even oral c...

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