WASHINGTON (WKOW) -- As women get older, they don't need to be tested for cervical cancer as often.
Monday, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology announced new testing guidelines.
It now recommends women between the ages of 30 and 65 be screened for cervical cancer once every five years.
The previous rule was three years for all women.
Three continues to be the recommendation for women between the ages of 21 and 29.
Many medical groups have long recommended a Pap test every three years for most women. The new advice says that's true for women ages 21 to 29 whose Paps show no sign of trouble.
But for healthy women ages 30 to 65, the preferred check is a Pap plus a test for the cancer-causing HPV virus, the group concluded. If both show everything's fine, they can wait five years for further screening.
The guidelines from America's largest OB-GYN organization agree with advice issued earlier this year by a government panel, the American Cancer Society and other medical groups, there's growing consensus that it's safe for the right women to wait longer between Paps.
Cervical cancer grows so slowly that regular Pap smears, which examine cells scraped from the cervix, can find signs early enough to treat before a tumor even forms.
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