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New York, NY — Today, Planned Parenthood is sharing new national survey data showing that the vast majority of women do not know when or how often they should get screened for breast and cervical cancer — even if they think they do. The nationally representative survey from Planned Parenthood Federation of America and NORC at the University of Chicago explores women’s experiences, knowledge, and beliefs about cervical and breast cancer screenings, as well as the barriers they experience in accessing preventive care.

The survey shows that many women aren’t getting screened often enough especially women of color and that many women aren’t aware that preventive cancer screenings are covered by insurance without a copay under the Affordable Care Act. The survey also found significant differences among Black and Hispanic women compared to white women in terms of the barriers to getting screened for breast and cervical cancer.

 

“The survey shows that not enough women have accurate information about their recommended cancer screenings,” said Dr. Raegan McDonald-Mosley, Chief Medical Officer for Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “Planned Parenthood knows firsthand how important cancer screenings are, and we want everyone to have the information they need to stay healthy. If you’re confused or even if you think you’re up-to-date you can check with us about the latest recommendations on well woman visits, cervical cancer screening, the HPV vaccine, as well as screening for breast cancer.  We can clear up any confusion about when you or your loved ones are due for a visit.”

 

As the nation's leading provider of women's health care, Planned Parenthood is here to help you and your loved ones understand how to best take care of your health and body, and to get you the care you need. Planned Parenthood providers are experts in women’s health, and can help you understand how to stay on top of your breast and cervical health.

 

The survey showed persistent confusion among U.S. women about when and how often they should be screened for breast and cervical cancer despite a majority of survey respondents saying that they do know:

 

  • 73% of women said they understand how often women should be checked for cervical cancer. However, only 9% correctly answered that the average 21-29 year old woman should be checked for cervical cancer every 3 years, or that the average 30-64 year old woman should be checked for cervical cancer every 3-5 years.
     

  • 84% of women said they understand how often women should be checked for breast cancer. However, only 10% correctly answered that the average 21-39 year old woman should be checked for breast cancer every 1-3 years, depending on her history.
     

  • 23% of women said they did not know when they should next get checked for breast cancer; and 39% of women said they did not know when they should next get checked for cervical cancer.

 

“The survey also showed that too many women aren’t getting their recommended cancer screenings, especially Black and Hispanic women,” McDonald-Mosley continued. “The unfortunate reality is that women of color in the U.S. face more barriers to accessing health care than white women, and so are less likely to get preventive screenings, more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, and more likely to experience worse health outcomes when it comes to breast and cervical cancer.”

 

  • Asked if they have ever been checked for cervical cancer, 19% of women said no and 7% said they weren’t sure. 16% of women said it had been more than five years since their last cervical cancer screening.
     

  • While 81% of white women said they had been screened for cervical cancer, only 64% of Black and Hispanic women said they had been screened, making women of color significantly less likely than white women to have ever been checked for cervical cancer.
     

  • Asked if they have ever been checked for breast cancer, 16% of women said no and 3% said they weren’t sure.
     

  • While 87% of white women said they had been screened for breast cancer, only 74% of Black women and 69% of Hispanic women said they had been screened, making women of color significantly less likely than white women to have ever been checked for breast cancer.
     

The survey also revealed significant differences in the barriers facing Black and Hispanic women compared to white women when it came to getting screened, including the cost of the test and ability and time to go to a health care provider. For example, when asked what prevented them from getting checked for breast cancer,  
 

  • 28% of Black women and 40% of Hispanic women strongly agreed that cost of the test was a barrier -- compared to 17% of white women.

  • 23% of Black women and 26% of Hispanic women strongly agreed that time to go to the doctor was a barrier, compared to 14% of white women.

  • 22% of both black women and Hispanic women strongly agreed that distance to the doctor’s office was a barrier, compared to 7% of white women.

Similarly, when asked what prevented them from getting checked for cervical cancer,

  • 32% of Black women and 42% of Hispanic women strongly agreed that cost of the test was a barrier, compared to 19% of white women.

  • 27% of black women and 31% of Hispanic women strongly agreed that time to go to the doctor was a barrier, compared to 18% of white women.

  • 22% of black women and 20% of Hispanic women strongly agreed that distance to the doctor’s office was a barrier, compared to 11% of white women.

This survey also found levels of fear in the test and test results differed between white women and women of color. When asked what prevented them from getting checked for cervical cancer,

  • 29% of both black women and Hispanic women strongly agreed that fear of the test was a barrier, compared to 12% of white women.

  • 40% of black women and 38% of Hispanic women strongly agreed that fear of the results was a barrier, compared to 14% of white women.

When asked what prevented them from getting checked for breast cancer,

  • 28% of black women and 25% of Hispanic women strongly agreed that fear of the test was a barrier, compared to 13% of white women.

  • 38% of black women and 32% of Hispanic women strongly agreed that fear of the results was a barrier, compared to 15% of white women.

As the nation’s leading provider of women’s health care, Planned Parenthood understands that women can put off cancer screenings due to time, cost, anxiety, or not knowing when they’re due for a screening. Although it might feel easier for you or a loved one to delay screenings especially if you feel healthy preventive care is too important to avoid. Planned Parenthood is committed to working with communities to break down the barriers many face in accessing health care, and ensure all people get the high-quality and affordable health care they need, regardless of race, income, geography, immigration status, or gender identity.

“Taking the best possible care of yourself can sometimes be hard,” added McDonald-Mosley. “Whether you’re confused about recommendations or worried about cost, Planned Parenthood is here for you.”

Planned Parenthood knows women’s health like no one else. This is what we do -- and we base our recommendations on the latest research and medical knowledge, using guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

“The survey revealed that almost half of women have never encouraged other women in their lives to get screened for cervical cancer, one of the most preventable cancers when caught early,” said McDonald-Mosley. “We hope more women will talk with their loved ones — mother, siblings, aunts, cousins, partners, and friends — about the importance of getting screened for breast and cervical cancer. You can simply ask when the last time they had a check-up was — and if they aren’t going in for screenings, ask what’s preventing them from getting care.”

Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading sexual and reproductive health care provider and advocate, serving 2.5 million patients annually through its health care service providers, and 1.5 million more through educational programs and outreach.

Visitplannedparenthood.org for information on breast and cervical health, and to find the health center nearest you.

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Background on Breast and Cervical Cancer Among Women:

Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths among women in the U.S., and has a particularly devastating impact on women of color.

  • African-American women have the highest incidence rate of breast cancer among women under the age of 45, and are more likely to die from breast cancer than white women or Latinas.

  • Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among Latinas. Latinas are 20 percent more likely to die from breast cancer than non-Hispanic white women when diagnosed at a similar age and stage.

Every year, almost13,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and more than 4,000 American women die of the disease. Latinas and African-American women havehigher rates of cervical cancer than other groups and are also more likely to die of the disease.

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have released data showing that while cervical cancer screenings have been proven to save lives, about eight million women ages 21 to 65 have not been screened for cervical cancer between 2007 and 2012 (the most recent year for which data available).

  • More than half of cervical cancer cases are in women who have never been screened or in those who haven’t been screened in the past five years.

  • As many as 93 percent of cervical cancer cases could be prevented by screening and HPV vaccination.

Cervical cancer is caused by certain types of HPV, or human papillomavirus, a very common sexually transmitted infection.  In most cases, the body’s immune system clears HPV naturally — but high-risk HPV can sometimes lead to cervical cancer.

The HPV vaccine is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of HPV. The vaccine is safe and is supported by leading medical organizations, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Cancer Society, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Research shows that since the introduction of HPV vaccines, abnormal changes in the cervix that can lead to cancer have fallen dramatically among young women in the U.S.


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Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With over 650 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.

Source

Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Contact

Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433

Published

August 11, 2016