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Too Many Women Not Being Screened for Cervical Cancer

CDC notes that more than half of cervical cancer cases occur among women never or rarely screened

THURSDAY, Nov. 6, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- An estimated eight million American women ages 21 to 65 haven't been screened for cervical cancer in the past five years. That's the finding of a Vital Signs report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that noted that more than half of cervical cancer cases occur among women who've never or rarely been screened.

According to the report, in 2012, 11.4 percent of women ages 21 to 65 said they had not been screened for cervical cancer in the past five years. The percentage was higher among women without health insurance (23.1 percent) and among those without a regular health care provider (25.5 percent). Lack of screening was also higher among older women (12.6 percent), Asians/Pacific Islanders (19.7 percent), and American Indians/Alaskan Natives (16.5 percent).

From 2007 to 2011, the cervical cancer rate nationwide fell by 1.9 percent a year and the death rate remained stable. Still, the southern United States had the highest rate of cervical cancer (8.5 cases per 100,000 women), the highest cervical cancer death rate (2.7 deaths per 100,000 women), and the highest rate of non-screening in the past five years (12.3 percent).

"Every visit to a provider can be an opportunity to prevent cervical cancer by making sure women are referred for screening appropriately," CDC Principal Deputy Director Ileana Arias, Ph.D., said in an agency news release. "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."

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