More than 12,000 women get cervical cancer every year. Up to 93% of cervical cancers are preventable. Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination helps prevent infection with the HPV types that cause most cervical cancers. The Papanicolaou (Pap) test screens for abnormal cells that may develop into cancer and the HPV test screens for the HPV virus that causes these cell changes. Even though screening works, 10% of women in the US in 2012 reported they had not been screened in the last 5 years. Every visit to doctors and nurses is an opportunity to discuss cervical cancer prevention. No woman should die of cervical cancer.
Doctors, nurses, and health systems can:
- Help women understand what screening tests are best for them and when they should get screened.
- Screen or refer all women as recommended at any visit.
- Make sure patients get their screening results and the right follow-up care quickly.
- Use reminder-recall systems to help doctors, nurses, and patients remember when screening and HPV vaccination are due.
- Strongly recommend that preteens and teens get vaccinated against HPV.