The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended new guidelines on Wednesday that call for women to receive Pap tests every three years rather than annually.
According to the task force, the test that screens for cervical cancer is not more effective in lowering the mortality rate associated with the disease when performed annually and can actually have a negative impact at that frequency.
Task force member Dr. Michael LeFevre explains that,
”The more tests that you do, the more likely you are to be faced with a false-positive test. We see an emerging consensus that annual Pap tests are not required for us to see the benefits that we have seen.” (CBS News)
A false-positive Pap may lead to an unnecessary biopsy, but it is up to the patient and her doctor to decide whether that’s a risk worth taking.