What Are the Current Cervical Cancer Screening Recommendations?

What Are the Current Cervical Cancer Screening Recommendations?

Abnormal cervix cells are the origin of cervical cancer. Treatment can stop cancer from forming when these precancerous cells are discovered on a PAP smear, a common cervical cancer screening test.

The uterus and vagina are connected via the cervix. The cells that border the cervix are where cervical cancer starts. When the normal cells in this region start to alter and become abnormal, cervical cancer starts. Precancer is the term for this.

Cervical cancer is not always caused by precancers. In actuality, a lot of precancers disappear without treatment. However, cervical cancer can be avoided by treating precancers. This is one of the main justifications for the significance of cervical cancer screening. Precancers can be found through screening, which enables their treatment and keeps them from developing into cancer.

What are the most recent guidelines for screening for cervical cancer?

Two main sets of recommendations exist for cervical cancer screening. You should discuss these recommendations and your risk for cervical cancer with your doctor. They can assist you in determining the ideal screening schedule.

USPSTF (U.S. Preventive Services Task Force) recommendations

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) offers advice for the entire public, including those who have a cervix but do not exhibit cervical cancer symptoms or who are not regarded as high risk. Currently, USPSTF advises doing the following:
  • for women under 21, there is no screening
  • Every three years, cervical cytology is used to screen for cervical cancer in women between the ages of 21 and 29.
  • Every three years, high-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV) testing is performed on women between the ages of 30 and 65, and every five years, hrHPV testing and cytology testing are combined.
  • Women over 65 who are not at high risk for cervical cancer should not undergo screening.
  • Women who have undergone hysterectomies that removed the cervix but have no history of cervical cancer, whether early-stage or precancer, should not be screened.

Advice from the American Cancer Society

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS):
  • Every five years, women between the ages of 25 and 65 should get a primary HPV test; if they are unable to get one, they should get a Pap test every three years or an HPV test in conjunction with a Pap test every five years.
  • If all tests over the previous ten years have been normal and there hasn't been a diagnosis of cervical cancer or precancer in the previous 25 years, screening is stopped after age 65.
  • Anyone at high risk of cervical cancer should speak with their doctor about getting checked more frequently after having a hysterectomy that includes removal of the cervix unless the hysterectomy was performed as therapy for cervical cancer or as a cervical cancer preventative measure.

How is cervical cancer screening carried out?

Cervical cancer screening techniques come in a variety of forms. Your location and the healthcare facility you select could have an impact on the precise possibilities that are available to you.

Commonly, a PAP test, an HPV test, or both are used for cervical cancer screening. A sample of cells from the cervix is routinely taken for this testing. They frequently occur during the pelvic exam phase of a standard gynaecological examination.


Which signs and symptoms accompany cervical cancer?

Cervical cancer symptoms might include:
  • bleeding between menstrual periods
  • bleeding after sex
  • painful sex
  • leg swelling
  • fatigue
  • changes to vaginal discharge
  • back pain
  • postmenopausal vaginal bleeding
  • blood in the urine
  • blood in stool
  • stomach pain

What is cervical cancer treatment like?

Your specific cervical cancer treatment strategy will be determined by several variables, including your diagnosis stage, the size, and the location of the tumour. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are frequently used in treatment strategies in addition to surgery to remove the tumour. There are also occasionally alternative possibilities for treatment, including immunotherapy and targeted therapy.

What is the prognosis for those who have cervical cancer?

Your particular prognosis for cervical cancer differs depending on things like:
  • the stage when diagnosed
  • genetics
  • response to treatment
  • general health
  • age
  • other individual risk factors
The 5-year relative survival rate for cervical cancer is 67%, but it is 91% for those who are diagnosed while the disease is still at an early stage. The survival rate for cervical cancer is 19% when it is discovered and treated at a later stage when it has spread to other body parts. 


Takeaway

Cell alterations in the cervix are the first sign of cervical cancer. Precancer is the term for these alterations, and while they don't necessarily progress to cancer, by being treated, they are guaranteed never to. These changes can be found through cervical cancer screening. When they are treated, cancer cannot form.

This justifies the significance of routine cervical cancer screening. Depending on the test you receive and your unique circumstances, the ACS and USPSTF both advise screening every 3–5 years. You can get more specific advice from your doctor.