The “herstory” of recommendations for Pap smears and pelvic examinations involve a lot of different advisory groups and reflects both facts and factoids. The prevention of problems associated with human papilloma virus (HPV) and the early recognition of cervical, uterine and ovarian cancer get lumped into one series of recommendations.
We reviewed the most recent guidelines, published by the Center for Diseases Control, as well as the evidence that is backing them up, which is based on the US Preventive Task Force (2018) American Cancer Society (2012), American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (2016), Society of Gynecologic Oncology, and the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology: Interim clinical guidance for primary hrHPV testing4 (2015).
Our jury has reached a verdict on the guidance and unpacked the recommendations in the following table. Where the research is conclusive, we have labelled it a unanimous decision; where the organizations differ in their advice, we have called it a hung jury; and finally, where the organizations are vague and there is just not enough evidence we have said so.