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October 2017

Using Risk Stratification to Reduce Medical Errors in Cervical Cancer Prevention

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Boston Medical Center/Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Boston
  • 3Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA Intern Med. 2017;177(10):1411-1412. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.3999

Understanding a patient’s risk of developing cervical cancer is critical to screening and surveillance strategies. Cervical cancer screening with the Papanicolou test is the basis of one of the most successful cancer prevention programs. In the 1980s, the American Cancer Society advised annual Papanicolou testing for women starting at the initiation of sexual activity and continuing for as long as a woman remained in good health, with evaluation of all abnormalities. This simple screening algorithm was successful in preventing cancer but led to unnecessary testing and procedures for many women.

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