PAP tests: What age benefits most?

Original broadcast date: September 27, 2009

The advent of the PAP test in the 1960’s, a screening test to detect abnormal cells of the cervix that might lead to cancerous change, has had a tremendous positive impact on women’s health.

There are various recommendations on when to start screening, how often to screen and what medical management should be if the results are abnormal. Three studies in the July 29, 2009 edition of the British Medical Journal, examined the outcomes of various management approaches when the Pap test was abnormal with respect to the age of patient.

The study lends support to raise the age at which women should start Pap screening to detect cervical cancer.

  • Dr. Eduardo Franco, Professor of Epidemiology and Oncology and Director of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology at McGill University and co-author of the accompanying editorial to the study.

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