and Medicine for Seniors
Older Women Lead Millions in Not Getting Screened
for Cervical Cancer
Most new cervical cancer cases occur among women who
have never or rarely been screened, says CDC - women over 65 may not
need Pap test
6, 2014 - Despite evidence that cervical cancer screening saves lives,
about eight million women ages 21 to 65 years have not been screened for
cervical cancer in the past five years, with the older women the worst
offenders, according to a new
Vital Signs report from the Centers for Disease Control and
More than half of new cervical cancer cases occur
among women who have never or rarely been screened.
Many Senior Women Receive Unnecessary Pap Tests
Surprised that so many women over age 65 reported
recent Pap test; unnecessary tests can result in stress for the patient,
increased costs, and inefficient use of time
Stephens, HBNS Contributing Writer
Oct. 1, 2014 - As many as half to two-thirds of women who have undergone
hysterectomies or are older than 65 years in the United States report receiving
Pap tests for cervical cancer.
Read the latest
Health & Medicine
“Every visit to a provider can be an opportunity to
prevent cervical cancer by making sure women are referred for screening
appropriately,” said CDC Principal Deputy Director Ileana Arias, Ph.D.
“We must increase our efforts to make sure that all
women understand the importance of getting screened for cervical cancer.
No woman should die from cervical cancer.”
Researchers reviewed data from the 2012 Behavioral
Risk Factor Surveillance System to determine women who had not been
screened for cervical cancer in the past five years. They analyzed the
number of cervical cancer cases that occurred during 2007 to 2011 from
CDC’s National Program of Cancer Registries and the National Cancer
Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program. Cervical
cancer deaths were based on death certificates submitted to the National
Vital Statistics System.
• In 2012, 11.4 percent of women reported they had
not been screened for cervical cancer in the past five years; the
percentage was larger for women without health insurance (23.1 percent)
and for those without a regular health care provider (25.5 percent).
• The percentage of women not
screened as recommended was higher among older women (12.6 percent),
Asians/Pacific Islanders (19.7 percent), and American Indians/Alaska
Natives (16.5 percent).
• From 2007 to 2011, the cervical cancer incidence
rate decreased by 1.9 percent per year while the death rate remained
• The Southern region had the highest rate of
cervical cancer (8.5 per 100,000), the highest death rate (2.7 per
100,000), and the largest percentage of women who had not been screened
in the past five years (12.3 percent).
increase our efforts to make sure that all women understand the
importance of getting screened for cervical cancer. No woman
should die from cervical cancer.” CDC Principal
Deputy Director Ileana Arias, Ph.D.
Using the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine as a
primary prevention measure could also help reduce cervical cancer and
deaths from cervical cancer. Another recent CDC study showed that the
vaccine is underused; only 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 7 boys had received the
3-dose series in 2013. The HPV vaccine is recommended as a routine
vaccine for children 11 - 12 years old. Modeling studies have shown that
HPV vaccination and cervical cancer screening combined can prevent as
many as 93 percent of new cervical cancer cases.
Even with improvements in prevention and early
detection methods, most cervical cancers occur in women who are not
up-to-date with screening. Addressing financial and non-financial
barriers can help increase screening rates and, in turn, reduce new
cases of and deaths from this disease.
Efforts to prevent cervical cancer
National Breast and Cervical Cancer
Early Detection Program (www.cdc.gov/cancer/nbccedp/)
provides low-income, uninsured, and underinsured women access to breast
and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services in all 50 states,
the District of Columbia, 5 U.S. territories, and 11 American
Indian/Alaska Native tribes or tribal organizations.
Through the Affordable Care Act, more Americans can
find and choose health care coverage that fits their needs and budget,
including important preventive services such as cervical cancer
screening and HPV vaccines that can be covered with no additional
costs. Visit Healthcare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596 (TTY/TDD
1-855-889-4325) to learn more.
To learn more about recommended ages and tests for cervical
cancer screening, visit:
To learn more about HPV vaccine recommendations, visit:
What You Should Know About Screening
is a report that appears on the first Tuesday of the month as part of
the CDC journal,
Mortality Weekly Report (www.cdc.gov/mmwr). The report
provides the latest data and information on key health indicators.
These are cancer prevention, obesity, tobacco use, motor vehicle
passenger safety, prescription drug overdose, HIV/AIDS, alcohol use,
health care-associated infections, cardiovascular health, teen
pregnancy, food safety, and viral hepatitis.