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Many Older Women Not Eligible to Quit Cervical Cancer Screening

Findings consistent among women with employer-based insurance and those treated at a safety net health center

cervical cancer

TUESDAY, June 15, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- About two-thirds of older women fail to qualify for discontinuation of cervical cancer screening, according to a study published online June 3 in Gynecologic Oncology.

Jacqueline M. Mills, M.D., from the Boston University School of Medicine, and colleagues assessed eligibility for cervical cancer screening discontinuation based on current guidelines among 590,901 women aged 64 years captured in a national claims database with employer-sponsored insurance in 2016 and 2018 and 1,544 women aged 64 to 66 years receiving primary care at a safety net health center in 2019.

The researchers found that 22.2 percent of the women in the national claims database were eligible to exit due to hysterectomy (1.6 percent) or negative screening (20.6 percent), which includes two human papillomavirus (HPV) screening tests or HPV plus Pap co-tests or three Pap tests within the previous 10 years without evidence of an abnormal result. More women from the safety net health center were eligible for discontinuation, with 34.2 percent eligible overall, including 9.3 percent due to hysterectomy and 24.9 percent due to negative screening. However, in both datasets, a majority of women did not have sufficient data available to fulfill exit criteria: 64.7 percent in the national database and 56.7 percent in the safety net hospital system. Only 41.5 percent of women with 10 years of insurance claims data qualified to discontinue screening.

"Additional steps to ensure eligibility prior to screening exit may be necessary to decrease preventable cervical cancers among women aged >65," the authors write.

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