…but pap tests? Who needs ’em!
From the NYT: Guidelines Push Back Age for Cervical Cancer Tests
Arriving on the heels of hotly disputed guidelines calling for less use of mammography, the new recommendations might seem like part of a larger plan to slash cancer screening for women.
Gee, you think so?
The reason is that young women are especially prone to develop abnormalities in the cervix that appear to be precancerous, but that will go away if left alone.
Don’t worry, college Sophomore—that precancerous abnormality will go away eventually! *eyeroll*
The doctors’ group also felt it was safe to test women less often because cervical cancer grows slowly, so there is time to catch precancerous growths. Cervical cancer is caused by a sexually transmitted virus, human papillomavirus, or HPV, that is practically ubiquitous.
So HPV, which causes cervical cancer, is everywhere, but it’s okay not to screen because cervical cancer grows slowly? Wait—what?
Maybe things have changed, but when I was in high school we were told that you should go to a gynecologist at age 18 or after becoming sexually active, whichever came first. As far as I know, nobody is saying that all young teens should be having these tests, so I don’t really see where Dr. Holcomb’s comment that “I know the chances of an adolescent getting cervical cancer are really low” really comes into play. Unless that adolescent is sexually active, she won’t be seeing a gynecologist.
We’re already seeing a recommended delays in mammograms and pap tests, so what’s next? No ultrasounds or checkups for pregnant women until the second trimester? Or maybe we can just go back to the days when all female medical problems were written off as hysteria and promptly ignored. That would be awesome.