The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology has released a new practice bulletin concurrent with the November issue of the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology. The organization now recommends that most women only need to undergo cervical cancer screening every three to five years, rather than annually.
The bulletin notes that the incidence of cervical cancer in the US has decreased more than 50% in the past 30 years because of widespread screening with cervical cytology. In 1975, the rate was 14.8 per 100,000 women. By 2008, it had been reduced to 6.6 per 100,000 women. Mortality from the disease has undergone a similar decrease from 5.55 per 100,000 women in 1975 to 2.38 per 100,000 women in 2008. The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that there will be 12,170 new cases of cervical cancer in the United States in 2012, with 4,220 deaths from the disease. Cervical cancer is much more common worldwide, particularly in nations without screening programs, with an estimated 530,000 new cases of the disease and 275,000 resultant deaths each year. When cervical cancer screening programs have been introduced into communities, marked reductions in cervical cancer incidence have followed (5, 6).