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Geriatrics. 1996 Jun;51(6):45-8; quiz 49.

Cervical cancer: how often--and why--to screen older women.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Georgetown University School of Medicine, Lombardi Cancer Center, Washington, D.C., USA.


Cervical cancer continues to be an important cause of avoidable cancer deaths in older women. Despite the benefits of screening in reducing morbidity and mortality, older patients are under-represented in screening programs. Most professional groups recommend an annual Pap smear for all women, with no upper age limit. In most cases, women can safely undergo triennial screening after several annual negative smears. Screening is well-accepted among older patients, as up to 92% will accept a Pap smear offered in a clinical setting. To insure that screening is cost-effective, use sensitive and specific testing methods and limit screening to appropriate candidates.

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