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Cervical cancer was once the leading cause of cancer death for women in the country, but over the last 40 years that’s all changed.

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) points to women getting regular pap tests, which can find cervical precancer before it turns into cancer.

But how often should these tests be done? NTV’s Seth Denney speaks with Dr. Michele Krieger, obstetrician-gynecologist in Kearney.

Women have two screening options to detect cervical cancer, the pap test and the HPV. With both tests, cells are taken from the cervix and tested. For years, experts pushed for yearly pap smears, but they’ve learning something, cervical cancer takes much longer than a short amount of time to develop.

“To go from a normal pap smear to an abnormal would really be closer to a six-year period,” said Dr. Krieger. “So what they started to do was see how we could do pap smear and what would be the length of time we could draw them out.”

As long as a patient has a history of normal pap tests, Dr. Krieger points to a new recommendation, a pap smear every three years.

“I’m pretty money conscious, I don’t want to overdo procedures and cause people stress. I like that it’s costing less money because medicine is so expensive these days,” said Dr. Krieger.

The American Cancer Society conversely pushes an HPV test every five years, an HPV with a pap test every five years, or Dr. Krieger’s recommendation of just the pap test every three years.

“Anytime you have an abnormal pap smear you’re put in that yearly category for at least 25 years,” said Dr. Krieger. “That recently changed in October. We used to follow 20 years. Now it’s 25 years.”


To schedule an appointment with Dr. Michele Krieger, call Platte Valley Medical Clinic at 308-865-2263.


Original Air Date: NTV News Vital Signs 7/2/21

One Reply to “Vital Signs: Cervical Cancer and How Often to Get a Pap Smear”

  1. Absolutely! The pap test and the HPV test are two approaches for detecting cervical cancer in women. Cells from the cervix are collected and examined in both assays. Thank you.

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