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April 29, 1968

Age Limits of Cytology For Cervical Cancer

JAMA. 1968;204(5):406-407. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140180056029

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To the Editor:—  In its educational materials to the public, the American Cancer Society recommends annual checkups which include the pap smear for all adult women. When the Papanicolaou technique first began to be used for screening women to detect asymptomatic uterine cancer, it was started with older women; but, as time has passed, the age for the procedure has been lowered to include younger women because of the large number of cases of cervical cancer occurring in younger women. In fact, recent reports of cancer of the cervix occurring in women under age 20 in some communities of the South in which early maturity and mating occurs have pointed out the need for not arbitrarily eliminating any age group which has some susceptibility to cervix cancer from having the benefits of early diagnosis. Accordingly, we have encouraged all women, regardless of age, to have the protection of a cervix