Advocacy and Health Policy |

Leading Women’s Health Care Groups Issue Joint Statement on USPSTF

Washington, DC—Haywood L. Brown, M.D., president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and Anna Barbara Moscicki, M.D., president of The American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology (ASCCP) released the following statement regarding the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) draft recommendations on cervical cancer screening:


“The incidence of cervical cancer in the U.S. has decreased significantly in the past 30 years because of widespread screening. The number of women dying from the disease also has dramatically decreased because of prevention and early detection of cervical cancer. However, suboptimal screening practices and lack of access to screening remain significant contributors to cervical cancer morbidity and mortality, emphasizing the importance of routine cervical cancer screening for women’s health.

“The major proposed change in the USPSTF’s draft recommendations is that clinicians screen for cervical cancer in average-risk women aged 30–65 years with either cervical cytology alone every three years or with high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) testing alone every five years. Prior USPSTF guidance recommended co-testing with cytology and high-risk HPV testing instead of high-risk HPV testing alone.

“ACOG is reviewing the evidence the USPSTF used as the basis for its new draft guidance. At this time, ACOG continues to affirm the clinical guidance included in Practice Bulletin No. 168, ‘Cervical Cancer Screening and Prevention,’ which recommends that for women aged 30–65 years, co-testing with cytology and high-risk HPV testing every five years is preferred, and screening with cytology alone every three years is acceptable. The USPSTF recommendations for women younger than 21 years (no screening), for women aged 21–29 years (cytology alone every three years), and for women older than 65 years who have been adequately screened previously (no screening) have not changed and remain the same as ACOG’s guidance.

“In addition to routine cervical cancer screening, it is crucial that obstetrician–gynecologists and other women’s health care providers educate parents and patients on the benefits and safety of HPV vaccination for cervical cancer prevention, and offer HPV vaccines in their offices.

“As a partner to the USPSTF, ACOG issued a Practice Advisory to its Fellows. Moreover, ACOG will submit formal comments to the Task Force during the public comment period. ACOG and ASCCP urge their members to submit comments to the USPSTF during the public comment period.”

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College), a 501(c)(3) organization, is the nation’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of more than 58,000 members, The College strongly advocates for quality health care for women, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women’s health care. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a 501(c)(6) organization, is its companion organization.