Cervical cancer is a progressive disease that is fatal if left untreated and undiagnosed. As with most cancers, early detection of cervical cancer saves lives. However, medical negligence cases involving a delay in diagnosis of cervical cancer continue to occur. Often, the opportunity to catch cervical cancer in its earliest stages, when it is most treatable and survivability is greatest, only arises when physicians properly screen their patients for the disease. Two separate sets of recently published guidelines recommend that women get screened for cervical cancer every 3 to 5 years.
Updated guidelines for cervical cancer screening have been published by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and the American Cancer Society. These recommendations include:
- Women between ages 21 and 65 without risk factors (such as DES exposure or immunodeficiency) should undergo cytologic screening every 3 years.
- Women between ages 30 and 65 wishing to extend the screening interval could undergo screening with both cytologic exam and human papillomavirus testing every 5 years.
- Women younger than 21 should not be screened.
- Women older than 65 who have been adequately screened previously should not be screened.
These guidelines can be seen here: