HEALTH

Cervical cancer screenings could soon be more accessible: Influential task force says women should get free Pap smears more often

Women in the US aged 30 to 65 may soon have better access to screenings that can prevent a potentially-fatal cervical cancer diagnosis. 

New guidelines from an influential task force say women should be able to ask for a Pap smear every three years, rather than having to wait for five.

And they say women should also be given the option to have their Pap smear and HPV testing done separately, since ‘co-testing’ often results in false alarms, and could lead to extreme, unnecessary operations.

The guidelines announced today were recommended by the US Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF), which usually influences insurance providers who follow their lead on which preventative screenings and medications to cover.

If insurance companies do comply, experts say women will soon be able to tailor their healthcare more to their specific needs.

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