For women of all ages, it has been common practice for each to undergo a simple Pap Test to detect cervical cancer, but the American Cancer Society has announced new screening measures that would do away with the annual testing. Claims that cervical cancer takes numerous years to develop, from 10 to 20 years, suggests that annual testing is only should be reserved for women in high risk categories, and those who have had any abnormal Pap tests in previous years.
For healthy women, cervical cancer detection would be determined through the Pap Test and HPV Test, every 3 to 5 years, depending on her age. While these are proposed guidelines by the ACS, the final guidelines would only be released in mid-2012. Health care providers, meanwhile, are still screening their patients according to older standards.
The new recommendations would also nullify any screening for women over the ages of 65 because, according to their findings that cervical cancer takes such a long time to develop, would only be unnecessary. Moreover, women who have had hysterectomies would not require testing, unless they had a history of cervical cancer or pre-cancer, should not undergo testing.
Having said all that, the Pap Test has been used for numerous years, helping doctors detect this dangerous cancer and save lives. Now, with the new recommendations, is it possible that women’s lives would be put at risk? It is certainly a good question that we must all ask ourselves, and so too should the medical community. With health insurance companies being the biggest, and only winners in this cutting down of procedures, it is safe to assume that all of this is related to saving money…but at what risk?
The bottom line is that once these new guidelines are put into place, your health insurance will not cover regular cervical cancer screening, as we have been accustomed to. So, that will leave many who do not have the financial capacity to pay for annual testing, to follow the guidelines proposed, possibly risking their lives.