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Eight Million Women Missed Cervical Cancer Screening in US in Past Five Years: CDC

Update Date: Nov 06, 2014 02:32 PM EST

Nearly eight million women in US gave cervical cancer screening a miss in the last the last five years, CDC reports.

The figures are alarming as more than half the women diagnosed with cervical have never had screening, according to NBC News. This year, the disease would affect as many as 12,000 women and cause 4,000 deaths.

Lack of health insurance was the main contributing factor in women missing screening. CDC examined 2012 national surveys and found that 11.4 percent women missed cervical cancer screening in the past five years. More than 23 percent said did not have insurance while another 25 percent who did not consult a regular doctor missed the screening.

Cervical cancer is attributed to Human Papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted virus that often causes symptoms-less infection but sometimes acts on cervix cells, turning them cancerous over a long period of time. Cervical cancer screening through HPV testing and Pap Smear tests have helped cut death rates drastically in the US. Cervical cancer remains the largest killer of women in developing countries, after breast cancer.  

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

CDC also pointed out that 12.6 percent of older women were not screened while percentages were high among minorities. The rate of incidence of cervical cancer in southern region stood at 8.7 cases per 100,000 women, the highest for the country. On the positive side, the incidence rates decreased by 1.9 percent per year in the last five years, while death rates showed no changes.

The report concluded that vaccination against HPV for young women and men was underused, and that women who missed cervical cancer screening due to lack of insurance cover did not utilize the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

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