Study: Some May Be Able To Wait 5 Years Between Pap Tests

Study: Some May Be Able To Wait 5 Years Between Pap Tests

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A pap test is the most common way to find out if a woman has cervical cancer. Gynecologists collect cells from the cervix and test them to see if they're cancerous.

But a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, an academic medical journal, says that if a woman has negative results from a pap test along with negative results from a human papillomavirus, or HPV test, they can wait five years between screenings.

Typically, women have been advised to wait three years.

Dr. Michael Corbin is an OBGYN at Lewis County General Hospital. He says waiting five years between tests is up to the patient.

"If you are a woman say you're in your thirties and you've had normal pap smears all the time and you're in a stable relationship, I don't see why you couldn't do something every five years," he said.

But Dr. Corbin says if do opt to have a pap and HPV test done every five years, that doesn't mean you should stop going to your annual gynecological visit.

"There are a lot of things that come out in an OBGYN office that don't necessarily happen in family practice or internal medicine," he said.

The American Cancer Society also suggests that even if you've been vaccinated against HPV, you should still be screened for the virus and cervical cancer.

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