The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released cervical cancer screening recommendations with new screening intervals in March 2012. Annual screening is not recommended for average-risk women.
Screening Methods for Average-Risk Asymptomatic Women
- Age 21 to 29: Every 3 years with cytology (Pap testing), regardless of age of onset of sexual activity or other risk factors.
- Age 30 to 65: Every 5 years with HPV co-test (Pap + HPV test) OR every 3 years with cytology.
When NOT to Screen
- Younger Than Age 21: Screening is not recommended for women younger than age 21.
- Older Than Age 65: No screening past age 65 if adequate prior screening can be assessed accurately (three consecutive negative cytology results or two consecutive negative HPV results within 10 years before screening cessation, with the most recent test occurring within 5 years) and not otherwise at high risk for cervical cancer.
- No Cervix: No screening if the cervix was removed for a benign reason.
These screening recommendations do not apply to women—
- With a prior diagnosis of a high-grade precancerous cervical lesion or cervical cancer,
- With in utero exposure to diethylstilbestrol, or
- Who are immunocompromised (such as those who are HIV positive, organ transplant recipients, or on chronic corticosteroids).