Why Are Rates of Cervical Cancer Increasing When We Have the Tools to Prevent It?
Quote from Dr. Phillips
“With the understanding that no woman should develop cervical cancer, it is concerning to see that screening efforts in the United States continue to be eroded amid decreases in screening participation and increases in cervical cancer. We need to advocate for our patients and educate about the importance of screening.”
As we observe Cervical Health Awareness Month, cervical cancer diagnoses are on the rise among women less than 50 years old.
January is Cervical Health Awareness Month, a time to highlight the critical importance of regular screening to help detect and prevent cervical cancer. This year, it comes as cervical cancer rates are surprisingly increasing for women under 50. It’s estimated there were approximately 14,100 new cases diagnosed and 4,280 deaths from cervical cancer in the United States just last year alone.1 With well-established screening programs and tools to prevent this devasting disease, why are we continuing to see upticks in cases and deaths?
In the January issue of OBG Management, Dr. Kameelah Phillips, OB-GYN and founder of Calla Women’s Health in New York City discusses this troubling rise in cervical cancer and how crucial screening with co-testing (Pap + HPV together) is due to the disproportionate outcomes in survival rates between early and late-stage diagnoses.2 One recent study found that only 65% of eligible women aged 30 to 65 and less than 50% of women aged 21 to 29 were up to date with cervical cancer screening.3 Dr. Phillips also addresses potential unintended consequences of changing screening guidelines.