I don’t know about you, but I’m confused. Who is telling me the truth about mammograms and Pap smears? A federal panel says women can wait until 50 for yearly mammograms. A group representing obstetricians and gynecologists advises women can wait until 21 for their first screening for cervical cancer.(acog.org)
For years, women have been advised to get annual mammograms beginning at age 40. Even teenagers were told to get yearly Pap smears within three years of becoming sexually active.
In truth, while women young and old have been scheduling those yearly doctor visits, the rates for both cervical and breast cancers have dropped dramatically. Since the onset of regular mammography screening in 1990, the breast cancer mortality rate has dropped by almost a third. The cervical cancer rate has declined by half, with credit given to the yearly Pap smear.