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Report: 20-somethings can go 2 years between Paps


4 Star

Report: 20-somethings can go 2 years between Paps

Our Review Summary

Despite its brevity, this story about revised guidelines for cervical cancer screening does a few things well: 

  • It compares the new and old recommendations clearly.
  • It puts the guidelines in the context of the much-debated cervical cancer vaccine. Most similar stories, including longer ones, failed to do this. 
  • It alludes to the study findings upon which the new recommendations are based.

Having said that, the story fails to include viewpoints from any independent experts. It also fails to discuss costs. 


Essentially, the story distilled the revised guidelines on the readers’ behalf. This is necessary for such a story. But it is not sufficient.


Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

The story fails to indicate how much a Pap test costs, or whether the new guidelines would cost or save money.

Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/test/product/procedure?


The story reports that half of women diagnosed with cervical cancer have never had a Pap test, and another 10 percent hadn’t had one in five years. So it at least indirectly addressed benefit.

Does the story adequately explain/quantify the harms of the intervention?


The story reports that many cervical abnormalities discovered by screening "usually go away on their own, and unnecessary treatment increases girls’ risk of premature labor years later."

Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?

Not Satisfactory

The story does not describe the evidence upon which the guideline revisions are based. Its says only that ACOG "cited studies."

Does the story commit disease-mongering?


The story does nothing to exaggerate the prevalence or severity of cervical cancer.

Does the story use independent sources and identify conflicts of interest?

Not Satisfactory

The story essentially cites no sources other than the guidelines themselves.

An expert voice or two would have been useful to help people understand the meaning of the guidelines. 

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?


The story clearly compares the revised screening guidelines with the most recent ones. It also cites the link between women not being screened and getting cervical cancer.

Does the story establish the availability of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Not Applicable

The availability of Pap smear tests is not in question in this story.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Not Applicable

No claim is made for the novelty of Pap tests.

Does the story appear to rely solely or largely on a news release?


The story does not draw from any of the press releases linked to these guidelines.

Total Score: 5 of 8 Satisfactory


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