New recommendations for cervical cancer screenings

For decades cervical cancer screenings have been recommended annually to help fight what was once the number one cancer killer among women.

These new recommendations are raising concerns among women in our area.

There are 12,000 new cases of cervical cancer each year in the U.S. and about 4,200 deaths.

Now the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is recommending women ages 21 to 65 get a pap smear done every three years.

Those under 21 years old don't need a pap smear at all, even if they are sexually active.

Many area doctors and women are worried about the risks that can stem from waiting longer to get checked.

"I think, we're now not having to treat people with advanced cervical cancers very often because we are catching them all so early, so what we're going to find is that we are going to be dealing with this less often but the cases we do find are likely to be more severe," says Dr. Brian Eades, OB/GYN.

The task force along with the American Cancer Society stand firm behind their research, saying more testing, means a greater risk of false positives and potential harm from over-treatment.