Research Says Cervical Cancer Screenings Are Still Pivotal For Women Over 65

Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that affects the cells in the cervix, per Cleveland Clinic. In the United States, nearly 14,000 people discover that they have cervical cancer annually, and these folks are most commonly between 35 and 44 years old. Consequently, according to the CDC, if you are over the age of 21, you should begin getting pap tests to screen for cervical cancer, but most doctors recommend that you stop getting cervical cancer screenings after turning 65 if you have had normal screenings in the past. 

Most of us believe that we know what to expect when booking a cervical cancer screening, as well as the signs that you should make an appointment with your gynecologist. What many of us may not realize, though, is how important cervical cancer screenings really are. Per U.S. News, there has been a dramatic decrease in deaths from cervical cancer in the U.S. since screenings first became available. It's clear, for this reason, that getting your cervical cancer screening is of the utmost importance. A new study suggests that there may be a need for another group of people to start getting regular screenings for cervical cancer, and that it's time that some guidelines get revisited.

Why more women over 65 are getting cervical cancer diagnoses

A new study by UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center called "Cervical Cancer Stage at Diagnosis and Survival among Women ≥65 Years in California" was published in the American Association for Cancer Research Journals on January 1st, 2023, and its findings are changing some things we believed about cervical cancer screenings (via American Association for Cancer Research Journals). The study shows that more women in California ages 65 and older are receiving late-stage cervical cancer diagnoses. This statistic is substantially higher than in folks under 65. These new findings make it abundantly clear that folks over the age of 65 should continue to get routine screenings to catch the disease early. 

According to UC Davis senior statistician, Julianne Cooley, who lead the study, "Our findings highlight the need to better understand how current screening guidelines might be failing women 65 and over. We need to focus on determining the past screening history of older women as well as lapses in follow-up care. We must utilize non-invasive testing approaches for women nearing age 65 or those who need to catch up on their cervical cancer screenings," per U.S. News.  

Managing director of cancer control interventions for HPV and gynecological cancers at the American Cancer Society, Debbie Saslow, explains that there's a direct correlation between screening and dying from cervical cancer, saying, "Most women who get cervical cancer have never been screened in their lives, or have only rarely been... We know we need to do a better job with screening and follow-up."