Trends in Cervical Cancer Screening in Title X-Funded Health Centers — United States, 2005–2015
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Trends in Cervical Cancer Screening in Title X-Funded Health Centers — United States, 2005–2015

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  • Alternative Title:
    MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep
  • Description:
    Cervical cancer screening is critical to early detection and treatment of precancerous cells and cervical cancer. In 2015, 83% of U.S. women reported being screened per current recommendations, which is below the Healthy People 2020 target of 93% (1,2). Disparities in screening persist for women who are younger (aged 21-30 years), have lower income, are less educated, are uninsured, lack a source of health care, or who self-identify as Asian or American Indian/Alaska Native (2). Women who are never screened or rarely screened are more likely to develop cancer and receive a cancer diagnosis at later stages than women who are screened regularly (3). In 2013, cervical cancer was diagnosed in 11,955 women in the United States, and 4,217 died from the disease (4). Aggregated administrative data from the Title X Family Planning Program were used to calculate the percentage of female clients served in Title X-funded health centers who received a Papanicolaou (Pap) test during 2005-2015. Trends in the percentage of Title X clients screened for cervical cancer were examined in relation to changes in cervical cancer screening guidelines, particularly the 2009 American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) update that raised the age for starting cervical cancer screening to 21 years (5) and the 2012 alignment of screening guidelines from ACOG, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and the American Cancer Society (ACS) on the starting age (21 years), screening interval (3 or 5 years), and type of screening test (6-8). During 2005-2015, the percentage of female clients screened for cervical cancer dropped continually, with the largest declines occurring in 2010 and 2013, notably a year after major updates to the recommendations. Although aggregated data contribute to understanding of cervical cancer screening trends in Title X centers, studies using client-level and encounter-level data are needed to assess the appropriateness of cervical cancer screening in individual cases.
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