Clinical Edge

Summaries of Must-Read Clinical Literature, Guidelines, and FDA Actions

Cervical Cancer Screening in Older Women

Are Pap smears beneficial?

Pap smears were common among women aged ≥70 years in a cross-sectional study of 1,752 women which examined the relationship between receiving a recommendation for this test from a health care provider vs self-referral and undergoing the test. The study determined:

• 40.8% of participants had a Pap smear within the past 3 years, 19.4% had a Pap smear in the last year, and 39.7% reported receiving a recommendation for a Pap smear from their provider in the last year.

• 39.8% of women who received a recommendation to obtain a Pap smear did so within the past 12 months vs 5.9% of women who did not receive a recommendation (adjusted OR=10.5).

• About 70% of women who visited an obstetrician/gynecologist and reported receiving a recommendation to have a Pap smear did so in the past year, while 32.3% of women who visited an obstetrician/gynecologist but did not receive a recommendation obtained one.

Citation: Guo F, Hirth JM, Berenson AB. Cervical cancer screening among women ≥70 years of age in the United States – a referral problem or patient choice. [Published online ahead of print October 20, 2015]. Prev Med. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2015.10.005.