Cervical Cancer News: Fewer Pap Smears

Federal panel recommends less cancer screening for women.
2:53 | 10/19/11

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Transcript for Cervical Cancer News: Fewer Pap Smears
Medical news sparking questions and concern among mothers daughters and doctors a federal panel said today that healthy women. Do not need to get pap smears every year after all. As you know that is the test given 55 million times every year to catch the risk of cervical cancer report becomes fatal in fact. Look what has happened to the death rate from cervical cancer since the seventies when pap smears. Became standard. So why the unsettling about face here's ABC sure enough funds it. -- -- housing annual pap screen turned out to be anything but routine. Young mother learning she had cervical cancer for me it really meant. You know -- ally. But -- the government panel is recommending women between ages 21 -- 65. Only get a pap smear every three years. Startling to women like how. Three years -- wrong. Being tanker crash and grab elements spiny. Why did mine went anywhere. A -- is simple enough a doctor examined cells script from a woman's cervix under a microscope. The protests forced maintains it could do more harm than good. Arguing that cervical cancer is usually slow moving and can take almost ten years to become dangerous. They say the more tests you do the more likely you are to be faced with a false positive. -- patients to unnecessary biopsies and complications like infections that can't lead to problems with pregnancy. Many doctors we spoke to today supported the recommendation still there is concern that women will get the wrong message are we gonna do more harm -- these procedures. Where people set up the pats not that important I don't have to go every three -- -- -- every five -- -- six the task force also suggested today women under thirty -- screening for HPV. A leading cause cervical cancer. For younger women the virus can actually clear up on its own too much testing they say could lead to unnecessary surgeries. The recommendations come from the same government panel that triggered -- firestorm last year. After proposing doctor's scale back on routine mammograms. And again this year they recommended against routine blood tests for prostate cancer. Task force leaders insist their proposal is not about saving money saying we don't look at -- -- all but really most concerned about harms. But the big question for most women what does this mean for my insurance coverage -- unclear if the new recommendations are adopted whether insurance companies will stop paying for yearly pap smears. But remember after the same task force recommended fewer mammograms for -- last year congress stepped in to be sure women who want mammograms. Would be covered the same panel creating more upheaval now for women and their health and confusion to talk and confusion thank you share.

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

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