Cervical Cancer Screening: New Guidelines

Dr. Richard Besser discusses changes from the government and health groups.
1:49 | 03/15/12

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Transcript for Cervical Cancer Screening: New Guidelines
It's news that will affect millions of women and our medical editor doctor Richard -- joins us now live from. Sarasota Florida so rich tell us about these changes the new guidelines. Well you know the big news is annual pap smears are out your pap smears remain very important in terms of preventing cervical cancer. But for most women you don't need to have them as often as he may have thought. Here's what they're recommending. For women who were 21 to 29 a pap smear every three years. Now if you're thirty to 65 you have some choices you can either get your pap smear done every three years. Or you can be tested for the HPV virus that's the virus that causes cervical cancer. If that's negative and your pap smears negative you can actually wait five years for your next screening. Five years you know they're going to be some women that say wow. Isn't it if you're if -- tested more often -- the chances -- that you'll be able to find the cancer early when it's more treatable. Well you know -- an emotional level that's what that's what you think but what they found was testing every three years prevented just as many cervical cancer deaths as testing every year. And it prevented a lot of the downsides if you have a positive pap smear you're gonna go on to have additional testing. Which concluded surgical biopsy with bleeding infection in a risk of infertility so the balance here three years one out. And what do you say to women who are. Going to be very concerned about about these new guidelines and how important it is to know your body to know your doctor intimate personal choices. Well you know the big point -- is that every woman needs to get screened you know almost half women never get tested in there in their cancers are picked up when they have symptoms. But beyond that read these guidelines think about it and talk to your doctor about what type of screening and how frequently is right for you. All right as always all right rich thanks so much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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