Have you had your Pap recently?
Pap testing has been one of the most successful public health interventions of the 20th century. Cervical cancer used to be the most common cause of death from pelvic cancer. Now it is one of the least common, thanks to early detection of precancerous lesions.
During a Pap test, your OBGYN collects cells from the cervix and tests for pre-cancerous and cancerous cells by looking for abnormalities. Pap smear screening is recommended at age 21 and then based on results and risk factors the frequency can range from 3-5 years if everything is normal. Recently, Pap-human papillomavirus (HPV) co-testing has been on the rise, usually given every 5 years for women age 30-65.
In 2018, there was an estimated 13,000 cases of cervical cancer diagnosed, and Pap screening reduced the prevalence of the cancer by over 60%.
Unfortunately, in recent years women are getting less Pap tests than recommended. An article in the Journal of Women’s Health published in early January found that there have been significant declines in Papanicolaou (Pap) screening among 21-29 year old women while reviewing data from 2005 to 2018. .
The study found that no more than 65% of women who should be getting screened had been tested in the recommended timeframe. This is nowhere near close to the Healthy People 2020 goal of 93%, and definitely nowhere near where we should be as an industrialized nation. These trends show a signicant declines in Pap test rates. Appropriate testing has declined by 10-15% compared to a 2005 baseline.
Cervical cancer is easy to detect early and curable when early detection is accomplished. It is extremely important and cost effective to get screened according to nationally recommended guidelines.
If you haven’t had your Pap test in the last 3 years, please make an appointment with El Camino Women’s Medical Group soon to get caught up!
El Camino Women’s Medical Group offers the latest Minimally Invasive Solutions for gynecologic problems. Drs. Amy Teng, Erika Balassiano, and Pooja Gupta, all members of AAGL (American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopy) are highly trained and experienced in the field of Minimally Invasive Gynecgologic Surgery. Dr. Erika Balassiano is also completed a Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery Fellowship, under the supervision of world-renowned Dr. Camran Nezhat.
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