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Stormo AR, Hawkins NA, Cooper CP, Saraiya M. The Pelvic Examination as a Screening Tool. Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(22):2053–2054. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.575
Author Affiliations: Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, CDC, Atlanta, Georgia (Ms Stormo and Drs Hawkins and Saraiya); and Soltera Center for Cancer Prevention and Control Research, Tucson, Arizona (Dr Cooper).
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 63.4 million pelvic examinations were performed in US physicians' offices and US clinics in 2008.1 Traditionally, this procedure has been performed in conjunction with annual Papanicolaou tests but since the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists extended its recommended cervical cancer screening interval to no more than every 3 years with human papillomavirus co-testing,2 there are questions about whether an annual pelvic examination is needed.
Pelvic examinations have been performed on asymptomatic women to screen for sexually transmitted infections, to screen for ovarian and other gynecologic cancers, and to determine whether women should receive hormonal contraceptives. However, use of pelvic examinations for these purposes is not supported by scientific evidence and is not recommended by any US organization.3-6
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