New guidelines raise cervical cancer screening age to 25

Cervical cancer screenings should begin at age 25, new guidelines from the American Cancer Society state.

The society updated its updated cervical cancer screening guidelines, last released in 2012.

The previous guidelines called for screenings to start at age 21. But the new guidelines raise the age to 25 years and recommend that the screenings continue through age 65. The guidelines also recommend that primary human papillomavirus testing, HPV testing without the Pap test, is conducted every five years.

Since not all laboratories have transitioned to primary HPV testing, HPV testing in combination with a Pap test every five years, or a Pap test only every three years, were also recommended as acceptable testing options.

"These streamlined recommendations can improve compliance and reduce potential harms," said Debbie Saslow PhD, managing director, HPV and gynecologic cancers for the American Cancer Society. "They are made possible by some important developments that have allowed us to transform our approach to cervical cancer screening, primarily a deeper understanding of the role of HPV and the development of tools to address it."

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