Editor’s Note: Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports on the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force saying women age 30+ should be screened for HPV to detect cervical cancer. The new USPSTF recommendation statement, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, updates their 2003 position.
Women older than 30 should be screened for human papillomavirus every five years with a Pap test to detect cervical cancer though the results may lead to “significant” harm, a U.S. advisory panel said.
The findings of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force update a 2003 recommendation that encouraged cervical cancer screening in sexually active women. A draft report the panel issued in October concluded “more complete evidence is needed” before HPV screening is widely adopted for the age group.
“Screening should fit the ideal of doing no harm, yet providing substantial benefit,” according to an editorial accompanying the guidelines, published yesterday in the Annals of Internal Medicine. “False positive test results can lead to over diagnosis, misdiagnosis and the potential for unnecessary diagnostic testing, procedures, treatments and their inherent risks.”