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Study: millions of women have useless Pap tests

Updated:
(Chicago-AP) -- A Dartmouth Medical School researcher says nearly 10-million women a year are being screened for a cancer in an organ they don't have.

The study in today's Journal of the American Medical Association finds doctors routinely perform unneeded Pap tests on women who have had hysterectomies.

Pap tests -- or Pap smears -- are used to detect cancer of the cervix. In most hysterectomies, the cervix is removed along with the uterus.

Researchers found that 46 percent of such women were still getting Pap tests in 2002.

The lead researcher, Doctor Brenda Sirovich of Dartmouth and the V-A Medical Center in White River Junction, Vermont, says she was quite surprised by the findings.

Sirovich says the tests aren't that expensive -- but are uncomfortable. She also says they distract doctors from more important matters and take time away from lab specialists.
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