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New Guidelines Extend Women’s Cancer Prevention Debate

Siri Stafford/Photodisc/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Everyone agrees that preventive care helps reduce the threat of cervical or breast cancer for women. But women often face conflicting recommendations by health care professionals when it comes to cancer prevention.
 
The government-run U.S. Preventive Services Task Force no longer recommends that women receive annual pap smears to screen for cervical cancer.

But the American College for Obstetricians and Gynecologists disagrees. It's issued new guidelines recommending annual well-woman exams for proper health maintenance beginning at age 21, and even sooner, if a woman has pelvic pain, a menstrual disorder or other worrisome symptoms. However, they say it's not necessary to have an exam before starting birth-control pills.
 
The college also believes that women between the ages of 20- and 39-years-old should have clinical breast exams every one to three years, and annual exams beginning at age 40.
 
That's where the doctors' group differs from the government task force. It recommends annual testing for breast cancer beginning at 50 years old.
 
The differing guidelines may be confusing, but it's best to consult with your own doctor to come up with the best preventive health care plan.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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