The American Cancer Society’s recent change in cervical cancer screening guidelines is a step in the wrong direction, endangering hundreds of thousands of women, writes Susan G. Komen for the Cure founder Nancy G. Brinker in USA Today.

The new guidelines call for women to be tested less often and less rigorously, specifically by recommending a delay in the start of testing from age 21 to age 25, and the elimination of the life saving Pap test and Pap and HPV co-test in favor of the HPV test alone.

A recent study conducted by Quest Diagnostics shows that co-testing continues to be the most effective strategy for early diagnosis of cervical cancer, identifying 94.1% of cancer cases and 99.7% of pre-cancer cases in women who would be diagnosed within 12 months. 

Drawing a comparison between the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated testing and the benefits of thorough cervical cancer testing which includes the Pap test along with the HPV test, Brinker notes that widespread testing grounded in science is an integral component in understanding the behaviors and prevention of any invasive illness.

Read Nancy’s complete op-ed in USA Today here.