Cervical Cancer Screening Rates ‘Unacceptably Low’

TUESDAY, Jan. 8, 2019 — Less than two-thirds of eligible 30- to 65-year-old women are up to date with cervical cancer screening, and Pap completion rates have decreased over time, according to a study published online Jan. 7 in the Journal of Women’s Health.

Kathy L. MacLaughlin, M.D., from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and colleagues used data from the Rochester Epidemiology Project (2005 through 2016) to calculate three-year (Pap) and five-year (Pap-HPV) moving prevalence rates of screening as a proportion of the eligible population.

The researchers found that in 2016, 64.6 percent of 27,418 eligible 30- to 65-year-old women were up to date with cervical cancer screening, and 60.8 percent had undergone Pap-HPV cotest screening. For all age groups, there were significant declines in Pap completion rates over time; however, Pap-HPV cotesting significantly increased at the same time among women aged 30 to 65 years, from 10 percent in 2007 to 60.8 percent in 2016.

“These cervical cancer [screening] rates are unacceptably low,” MacLaughlin said in a statement. “We, as clinicians, must start thinking outside the box on how best to reach these women and ensure they are receiving these effective and potentially life-saving screening tests.”

One author serves on committees overseeing safety studies of HPV vaccines funded by Merck.

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Posted: January 2019

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