Nowadays, experts no longer recommend having pelvic examinations or cervical cancer screenings. But many young girls and women across the US are undergoing invading gynecological tests regardless of the practice. Research, published on Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, reveals the disturbing fact. The trial shows most of the females having age between 15-20 who had undergone a manual pelvic exam probably did not need it. The research includes the participation of scientists from the CDC and the University of California, San Francisco. The team has studied survey data from September 2011 – September 2017 gathered from more than 3400 young females having age between 15-20 years.
Among the overall candidates, around 54% of pelvic exams, which they underwent last year, were likely needless. The study has also discovered about 72% of Pap tests performed in the previous year were avoidable. Experts usually recommend Pap test for diagnosis of cervical cancer, commonly prescribed to women above 21 years. A CDC epidemiologist Jin Qin, a co-author of the study, suggests inquiring about other methods to screen STI. Even more, patients should discuss with doctors when and why such screenings and exams might be required.
While analyzing the 2014 Medicare payment data, scientists have estimated that the screenings cost more than $123 million per year. Even more, it requires $37.97 and $44.78 for a pelvic exam and a Pap smear, respectively. According to the CDC, over 1.4 million pelvic exams and more than 1.5 million cervical cancer screenings take place across the US every year. Notably, the report focuses on the test performed on females having age between 15-20 years.
Qin noted the likely unnecessary tests could result in miss-diagnosis, needless treatment, and unwanted expenses. Even more, many young women find such screenings scary, anxious, uncomfortable, embarrassing, as well as painful. The research highlights still many medical experts favor pelvic exams as a convenient tool to test for gynecologic cancers. On the other hand, patients many times don’t know the use of these tests. They also have a misconception that these screenings are essential for STI detection, contraception inception, and even cancer detection.