HEALTHBEAT The sad story of Jade Goody
Sad; appalling; tragic. It's hard to find the right words to describe the story of Jade Goody, a British reality TV celebrity who's dying of cervical cancer at age 27 after ignoring test results ... Posted on 3/16/09 at 5:16 AM
For generations of women, it's been an ingrained medical ritual: Get a Pap test every year. Now two influential groups of medical experts say that having cervical cancer screening once a year is not necessary and, in fact, should be discouraged.
Part of recommendation at odds with American Cancer Society Scientists advising the government say a Pap test is a good way to screen young and middle-aged women for cervical cancer, and it's only needed once every three years. But they say there is not enough evidence yet to back testing for HPV, the virus that causes the disease.
Too many doctors are testing the wrong women, or using the wrong test, for a virus that causes cervical cancer. The days of one-size-fits-all screening for cervical cancer are long gone. How often to get a Pap smear _ and whether to be tested for the cancer-causing HPV virus at the same time _ now depend on your age and other circumstances. But a government study reports Monday that a surprising number of doctors and clinics aren't following guidelines from major medical groups on how to perform HPV checks, suggesting a lot of women are getting unnecessary tests.
First mammograms. Now — in an apparent coincidence — Pap smears. New guidelines by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists say most women in their 20s can have a Pap smear every two years instead of annually to catch slow-growing cervical cancer.
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