pap testCurrent standards suggest testing for cervical cancer starting at age 21, but researchers believe there could be an unrealized need for testing earlier in high-risk teen populations. A study, published in the journal Cancer Cytopathology, investigates the issue. Study researchers worked out of the University of Texas Medical Branch.

Researchers collected medical data from adolescent girls receiving a voluntary Pap test from 2000 to 2010. Various identifying characteristics, such as pregnancy history, sexual status, number of partners and menses data were collected.

In total, more than 56,000 adolescent cases were included in the study. More than 275 patients received a diagnosis of HSIL (high-grade squamous) with 56 receiving a diagnosis of CIN-3 (grade 3 cervical intraepithelial neoplasia).

According to study authors, results of the study prove the current guidelines established by the ACOG (American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology) are adequate. Rate of infection is extremely low in adolescents, regardless of being high-risk.

Source: Ma LT, Campbell GA, Richardson G, Schnadig VJ. Should high-risk adolescents have Papanicolaou tests? Cancer Cytopathol. 2013 Feb 28. DOI: 10.1002/cncy.21274.