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Cancer Trends Progress Report – 2009/2010 Update

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In the Report
Introduction
Trends-at-a-Glance
Summary Tables
Prevention
Early Detection
Breast Cancer Screening
> Cervical Cancer Screening
Colorectal Cancer Screening
Diagnosis
Treatment
Life After Cancer
End of Life



Cervical Cancer Screening
Early Detection

Pap test use is high, though it fell slightly between 2000 and 2005 among women aged 18 and older.

On this page:

Benefits of Pap Testing

Regular use of the Pap test followed by appropriate and timely treatment reduces deaths from cervical cancer. Women who have never been screened or who have not been screened in the past 5 years face a greater risk of developing invasive cervical cancer.

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Measure

Percentage of women aged 18 years and older who reported they had a Pap test within the past 3 years.

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Period – 1987–2005

Note: The most recent (2008) data are currently being reviewed. This section will be updated once research results have been published.

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Trends – Rising slightly until 2000, then falling slightly for Whites and stabilizing for Hispanics, Blacks, and California Asians (not graphed).

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Most Recent Estimates

In 2005, 78 percent of women aged 18 and older had a Pap test within the past 3 years. This includes 74 percent of Hispanics, 80 percent of Blacks, and 79 percent of Whites. These rates were down for all women (from 79 percent in 2003), for Hispanics (from 75 percent in 2003), for Blacks (from 83 percent in 2003), and for Whites (80 percent in 2003). Among Asian women interviewed in California, 73 percent had a Pap test in 2005 (compared with 74 percent in 2003).

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Healthy People 2010 Targets

Increase to 90 percent the proportion of women aged 18 and older who have received a Pap test within the past 3 years.

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Groups at High Risk for Not Being Screened

Older, poor, and less educated women are less likely to be screened for cervical cancer. Older women are at greater risk than younger women of developing and dying from cervical cancer. Women who have received the human papillomavirus vaccination (HPV) should still continue to obtain Pap tests.

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Key Issues

Regular Pap testing needs to be encouraged for all women. Special efforts are needed for older, poor, less educated, and immigrant women. Sexually active women also especially need Pap testing because they are more likely to be exposed to the human papillomavirus (HPV) and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), both of which can increase the risk of developing cervical cancer.

HPV testing is a promising new technique that may improve screening efforts because detection of these viruses identifies women at higher risk of cervical cancer, who then may be followed more closely.

A new HPV vaccine for cervical cancer, shown to be effective in girls not exposed to the sexually transmitted virus, was recently released.

In November 2009, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) released new guidelines for cervical cancer screening which say women should delay their first Pap test until age 21, and be screened less often than recommended in the past. The advice is meant to decrease unnecessary testing and potentially harmful treatment, particularly in teenagers and young women. The group's previous guidelines had recommended yearly testing for young women, starting within three years of their first sexual intercourse, but no later than age 21.

Different organizations have generated different guidelines. To see guidelines issued by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and others, go to http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/USpstfix.htm. The Guide to Community Preventive Services, http://www.thecommunityguide.org/index.html External link, is a source of information about evidence-based approaches for enhancing cancer screening.

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Additional Information on Cervical Cancer Screening

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Back: Breast Cancer Screening

National Cancer InstituteDepartment of Health and Human ServicesNational Institutes of HealthUSA.gov