It is critically important to recognize that the women who are at highest risk for abnormal Pap smear testing are those who are not getting regular Pap testing. Therefore, it follows that in order to improve overall cervical cancer screening, women who are not getting regular Pap smears should be educated about and offered Pap testing. These under-served women should be the most heavily targeted for Pap screening.
Between 60% and 80% of American women who are newly diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer have not had a Pap smear in the past five years and may never have had one. Women who have not had Pap smear screening tend to be concentrated in certain population groups including:
- Older women.
- The uninsured.
- Ethnic minorities, especially Latino, African-American, and Asian-American women.
- Poor women.
- Women in rural areas.
Many physicians feel that the emphasis should be on universal access to proper Pap screening as opposed to the comparatively small benefit that would come from utilizing the newer technologies in women already undergoing screening.
Cervical cancer is one of the most common causes of cancer worldwide. It is also one of the most preventable and treatable cancers.
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