Earlier today, the American Society for Colonoscopy and Cervical Pathology (ASCCP) released the Updated Consensus Guidelines for Managing Abnormal Cervical Cancer Screening Tests and Cancer Precursors.

The updated guidelines are are based on a systematic evidence review and contributions from a group of 47 experts representing 23 professional societies, national and international health organizations. The experts met with federal agencies in Bethesda, MD, on September 14 -15, 2012, to update the previous ASCCP Consensus Guidelines published in 2007. The group’s goal was to provide revised evidence-based consensus guidelines for managing women with abnormal cervical cancer screening tests, and diagnosed cancer precursors.

The guidelines address age-appropriate screening strategies, including the use of cytology and high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) testing, follow-up, including the management of screen positives and screening interval for screen negatives of women after screening, age at which to exit screening, future considerations regarding HPV testing alone as a primary screening approach, and screening strategies for women vaccinated against HPV16/18 infections.

These guidelines also follow adoption of updated cervical cancer screening guidelines in 2012 incorporating longer screening intervals and co-testing. In addition to literature review for specific issues, data from almost 1.4 million women in the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Medical Care Plan provided evidence on risk of cervical pre-cancer and invasive cancer over an eight year period after abnormal tests and follow up.

In their literature review the participating experts identifiedseveral issues important to patient management that lack high-level evidence. They concluded that future consensus conferences will be needed to integrate new evidence and novel screening approaches.

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For more information

– Massad LS, Einstein MH, Huh WK, Katki HA, Kinney WK, Schiffman M, Solomon D, Wentzensen N, Lawson HW. 2012 Updated Consensus Guidelines for the Management of Abnormal Cervical Cancer Screening Tests and Cancer Precursors.The Journal of Lower Genital Tract Disease; ASCCP Guidelines Update
– Wright TC Jr, Cox JT, Massad LS, Twiggs LB, Wilkinson EJ. 2001 Consensus Guidelines for the management of women with cervical cytological abnormalities. JAMA. 2002 Apr 24;287(16):2120-9[Full article]

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