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No State Excels in Preventing Cervical Cancer

January 28, 2005

In its first report on states' progress toward eliminating cervical cancer, Women in Government found that many US women have not been screened or are under-screened for largely preventable disease. The report, titled "A Call to Action: The 'State' of Cervical Cancer in America," says none of the states are where they should be, based on screening rates, coverage of routine screening by public insurance programs, and passage of state laws that make cervical cancer elimination a priority.

Among the report's findings:

  • Massachusetts ranked highest at 75 percent (scoring 12 out of 16 possible points), followed by Illinois, Maryland and North Carolina (69 percent).
  • Tennessee and Texas scored lowest (25 percent), just behind Wyoming and Nevada (31 percent).
  • No state received an "excellent" rating.

In the four states that fared best, at least 80 percent of age-appropriate women had been screened in the last three years -- three of the four top states had a screening rate of 86 percent or higher. Their Medicaid programs cover human papillomavirus (HPV) testing along with routine Pap screening in women age 30 and older. And the top states had created task forces to implement current guidelines and technologies in fighting cervical cancer.

"We urge state legislators, public health officials, advocates, and others to renew their efforts to prevent cervical cancer by ensuring that all women have access to the most advanced screening technologies -- including both the Pap and the HPV tests -- regardless of their socioeconomic status," said Beverly Hammerstrom, Women in Government's chairperson and a Michigan state senator. "We will continue to monitor state successes and highlight their progress in future reports as part of our 10-year plan to eliminate the disease."

Back to other news for January 28, 2005

Adapted from:
Chicago Tribune

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.