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December 2004, Volume 34 Number 12 , p 26 - 26


  • Mavis Schorn RN, CNM, MS




    While caring for a 17-year-old surgical patient, I got to know her and her mother quite well. One day her mother asked me when her daughter should have her first Pap test. What's the current recommendation for teenagers?—B.E., MD .

    Mavis Schorn, RN, CNM, MS, replies: The recommendations for the Pap test for cervical cancer have changed for women of all ages in recent years: The American Cancer Society (ACS) revised its guidelines in 2002, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) followed suit in 2003. Both organizations recommend that screening for cervical cancer begin about 3 years after a woman begins having vaginal intercourse, but no later than age 21. In young sexually active women, human papillomavirus (HPV) may cause precancerous changes that can lead to cervical cancer. A woman who hasn't had sexual intercourse isn't likely to have acquired HPV, so it's also unlikely that ...

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