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Cervical Cancer Screening and Prevention

  • Practice Bulletin PB
  • Number 168
  • October 2016

ABSTRACT: The incidence of cervical cancer in the United States has decreased more than 50% in the past 30 years because of widespread screening. In 1975, the rate was 14.8 per 100,000 women. By 2011, it decreased to 6.7 per 100,000 women. Mortality from the disease has undergone a similar decrease from 5.55 per 100,000 women in 1975 to 2.3 per 100,000 women in 2011 1. The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimated that there would be 12,900 new cases of cervical cancer in the United States in 2015, with 4,100 deaths from the disease 2. Cervical cancer is much more common worldwide, particularly in countries without screening programs, with an estimated 527,624 new cases of the disease and 265,672 resultant deaths each year 3. When cervical cancer screening programs have been introduced into communities, marked reductions in cervical cancer incidence have followed 4 5.

New technologies for cervical cancer screening continue to evolve, as do recommendations for managing the results. In addition, there are different risk–benefit considerations for women at different ages, as reflected in age-specific screening recommendations. In 2011, the ACS, the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology (ASCCP), and the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) updated their joint guidelines for cervical cancer screening 6, as did the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) 7. Subsequently, in 2015, ASCCP and the Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO) issued interim guidance for the use of a human papillomavirus (HPV) test for primary screening for cervical cancer that was approved in 2014 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 8. The purpose of this document is to provide a review of the best available evidence regarding the prevention and early detection of cervical cancer.

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