Screening guidelines for women: Incontinence and cervical cancer

News briefs

Older women: Take note of two new screening guidelines. One is for cervical cancer screening. Recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, published online Aug. 21, 2018, by the Journal of the American Medical Association, suggest that many women ages 30 to 65 can now approach cervical cancer screening in several ways: they can get a cervical cytology (Pap) test every three years; a test for human papillomavirus (which causes most cervical cancer cases) every five years; or they can get a combination of both tests every five years. If you're older than 65, the USPSTF recommends against screening unless you haven't had adequate tests before or you're at high risk for cervical cancer. The other screening guidelines are for urinary incontinence. They come from the Women's Preventive Services Initiative and were published online Aug. 14, 2018, by Annals of Internal Medicine. The guidelines recommend that women get screened for incontinence yearly, regardless of age. "I completely agree with brief annual screening for urinary incontinence for women. A simple question can be used to screen for it, such as, 'Do you have any bothersome urinary incontinence or urinary leaking during the day or night?' If the incontinence is treated early, in some cases, it will not progress and the patient will be able to avoid more invasive, costly, risky, or time-consuming treatment options," says Dr. May Wakamatsu, vice chair of gynecology services at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.