NEW GUIDELINES

Cancer Groups: Annual Paps Unnecessary

A U.S. government–backed expert panel and major cancer groups including the American Cancer Society said Wednesday that annual Pap-smear tests for cervical cancer were unnecessary. The same cancer group that recently discouraged routine prostate-cancer tests for healthy men said one Pap test every three years was sufficient. The organizations considered specific screenings for HPV, which can lead to cervical cancer, in their decision, saying in "overtesting" they often found many benign infections and false cancer positives. All groups also agreed with the U.S. panel that women under 21 should not have required HPV screenings.