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Doctors Say Routine Pelvic Exam Not Needed

Women don't need annual pelvic exams, a large group of primary-care doctors says. The American College of Physicians (ACP) says there is no good evidence that the exams provide a benefit. But the group does endorse regular screening tests for cervical cancer. These tests are recommended every 3 to 5 years. The new guideline applies to average women who are not pregnant and do not have symptoms of a problem. Pelvic exams are intended to look for infections, cancers and other problems in the reproductive organs. But research doesn't show that these exams are any good at finding these problems, an ACP committee found. Three studies on ovarian cancer found that pelvic exams did not help to detect it. One of the studies found that 1.5% of women ended up having surgery they did not need. Several studies looked at harms from regular pelvic exams.

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