Michigan Association of Health Plans

Cervical cancer expert talks check-ups

This story appeared in KOB-5. Read more here

Have you gotten your annual physical yet? Check-ups and tests are supposed to be a good thing, but did you know that when it comes to cervical cancer screening, you could get tested too often?

“In 2012 many national organizations made a mass, mass recommendations to stop screening women for cervical cancer so frequently,” said Dr. Cosette Wheeler Cervical Cancer expert.

Wheeler is an expert in cervical cancer.

“For 50 good years, women were screened annually, and everyone knew it’s time to come back and get your Pap smear,” said Wheeler.

But as technology advanced,

“We learned that the cause of virtually all cervical cancer was human papilloma viruses,” Wheeler said.

Or HPV, so experts recommended women with average risk to get both the pap smear and HPV test every five years.

“One of the concerns when changing the recommendations, and the biggest concern is will women not come back?” said Wheeler.

Doing something annually was easy to remember but with routine testing so far apart?

“As time went on, more and more women were being screened not even at five years.”

At the same time,

“About 65% of women are being screened with both tests all the time. So what does that equal? Very ineffective cost of delivering that care.”

Plus unnecessary procedures that could do more harm than good. Her solution? More education. Not just in schools, but through media campaigns about routine screenings and the HPV vaccine, as HPV is the cause of 99.7% of all cervix cancer.

Keep track of these five year tests along with milestones. Fore example, when a woman turns 30 then 35 and so on.

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