Annual pelvic exams are still an important tool in the overall assessment of a woman’s health, say physicians in the Cedars-Sinai Women’s Cancer Program at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute.
Recently, the American College of Physicians (ACP) recommended that annual pelvic exams be eliminated for average-risk, asymptomatic women. The ACP speculated false-positive results could cause potential harm.
Cedars-Sinai women’s cancer experts disagree. “We continue to support the position of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG) and their recommendation for annual pelvic exams for women over 21 years of age,” said Beth Y. Karlan, MD, Director of the Cedars-Sinai Women’s Cancer Program.
Women should visit their healthcare providers yearly. “The decision of whether or not to conduct a pelvic exam should be made on an individual basis between the physician and the patient,” added Dr. Karlan.
BJ Rimel, MD, gynecologic oncologist in the Women’s Cancer Program, explains more about the procedure, which her team considers an “important adjunct” to regular physicals. While the pelvic exam has its limitations, says Dr. Rimel, “that doesn’t preclude the possibility or probability that some patients will distinctly benefit from this non-invasive exam.”