Annual Pap smears may not be needed


March 15, 2012 1:58:29 PM PDT
An annual Pap smear may soon be a thing of the past as new guidelines suggest that most women really need the cervical cancer screening only once every three years.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said a yearly Pap smear isn't necessary for women ages 21-65.

It also suggests that women younger than 21 don't need the test at all.

It's the first update on these screenings since 2003.

The group adds screening every three years after the age of 21 saves the same number of lives as annual screenings with half the number of biopsies and fewer false positive results.