New Pap Test Guidelines

New Pap test guidelines could mean fewer return visits and less anxiety for women whose cervical-cancer results come back inconclusive. The new guidelines say testing for the chief cause of cervical cancer, human papillomavirus,  H-P-V, could be the only followup needed.

In many cases, the H-P-V test can be done from the Pap test sample. This would be more convenient for patients than the current system. Currently, they have varied followups. They could get at least two follow-up Pap tests in a year. The cervix could be examined and sometimes biopsied in a separate procedure. Or they could get the H-P-V test.

The guidelines were created last year at a medical conference. They are reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association.