Cervical Cancer Screening

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In 2015, 78.7% of women aged 21-65 had a pap smear test within the past 3 years.

Summary graph for Cervical Cancer Screening, Click to see detailed view of graph

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Introduction

Screening methods used to find cervical changes that may lead to cervical cancer include the Pap test and human papillomavirus (HPV) testing. Such screening tests may find cancers early, when they are most treatable. 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.

Although it is widely accepted that Pap screening can reduce cervical cancer mortality, and although the percentage of women aged 18 years and older who reported they had a Pap test within the past 3 years is relatively high, certain groups of women in the United States are less likely than others to be screened. A number of factors have been associated with lower rates of cervical cancer screening, including low income, less education, a lack of health insurance, older age, smoking status (smoker), and obesity. Studies have also shown that women who have had a medical visit in the last year are more likely to have received a cervical cancer screening, which suggests that having a usual source of care or a recent clinical encounter may be a necessary condition for women to receiving screening.

Understanding the reasons why women do or do not maintain regular cervical cancer screening is important, given that cervical cancer is one of the most successfully treatable cancers, particularly when detected and treated early.

Measure

The percentage of women aged 18 years and older, accounting for race/ethnicity, income, and education level, who reported they had a Pap test within the past 3 years.

Healthy People 2020 Target

  • Increase to 93 percent the proportion of women aged 21 to 65 years who received a cervical cancer screening based on the most recent guidelines. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening for cervical cancer in women aged 21 to 65 years with a Pap test every 3 years or, for women aged 30 to 65 years who want to lengthen the screening interval, screening with a combination of Pap testing and HPV testing every 5 years.

Healthy People 2020 is a set of goals set forth by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Data Source

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey, 1987–2015.

Trends and Most Recent EstimatesHelp with navigating the graphs and data tables

By Race/Ethnicity

Percent of women aged 21-65 years who had a pap smear test within the past 3 years by race/ethnicity, 1987-2015
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2015)
Percent of women Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percent of women aged 21-65 years who had a pap smear test within the past 3 years by race/ethnicity, 1987-2015 All RacesClick to see the detailed trend graph for All Races 78.7 (77.8 - 79.7)
Non-Hispanic WhiteClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic White 79.7 (78.4 - 81.0)
Non-Hispanic BlackClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic Black 82.8 (80.5 - 85.0)
HispanicClick to see the detailed trend graph for Hispanic 75.9 (73.6 - 78.1)

By Poverty Income Level

Percent of women aged 21-65 years who had a pap smear test within the past 3 years by poverty income level, 1998-2015
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2015)
Percent of women Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percent of women aged 21-65 years who had a pap smear test within the past 3 years by poverty income level, 1998-2015 <200% of federal poverty levelClick to see the detailed trend graph for <200% of federal poverty level 71.5 (69.5 - 73.4)
>=200% of federal poverty levelClick to see the detailed trend graph for >=200% of federal poverty level 81.9 (80.8 - 83.1)

By Education Level

Percent of women aged 21-65 years who had a pap smear test within the past 3 years by highest level of education obtained, 1987-2015
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2015)
Percent of women Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percent of women aged 21-65 years who had a pap smear test within the past 3 years by highest level of education obtained, 1987-2015 Less than High SchoolClick to see the detailed trend graph for Less than High School 67.7 (64.4 - 71.0)
High SchoolClick to see the detailed trend graph for High School 72.3 (69.7 - 74.8)
Greater than High SchoolClick to see the detailed trend graph for Greater than High School 82.4 (81.3 - 83.5)

Additional Information on Cervical Cancer Screening

For the public

For health professionals

Scientific reports

Statistics

Year Range

1987-2015

Recent Summary Trend Year Range

2010-2015

Summary Tables

Breast and Cervical Cancers

Recent Summary Trend

Falling

Desired Direction

Rising