Only two-thirds of women ages 30 to 65 and half of women ages 21 to 29 are up to date with cervical cancer screening, according to a study in the Journal of Women’s Health, which analyzed 2005–16 data from 47,000 women living in Minnesota. Screening rates were lower among black and Asian women than among white women (the study population was less ethnically diverse than the U.S. population).
Screening guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) call for Pap tests every three years for average-risk women from ages 21 to 29. Starting at age 30, women can continue Pap testing every three years or get a combined Pap and HPV (human papillomavirus) test every five years.
Last year, the USPSTF added a third option—HPV testing by itself every five years—for women ages 30 to 65. Women over 65 who have been adequately screened and had no abnormal results can stop getting tested.
This article first appeared in the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.