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New York, NY — Today the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new datashowing 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 in the past five years. About 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, and more than half of these cases of cervical cancer are in women who have never been screened or in those who haven’t been screened in the past five years.

“This report shows that routine cervical cancer screenings are absolutely vital to helping women prevent cervical cancer, and to catching it early when it is most treatable,” said Dr. Vanessa Cullins, vice president of external medical affairs for Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “Cervical health and regular checkups are important for women. Confirm with your health care provider to see if you are due for a screening, and encourage your loved ones to do the same.

“A major cause of cervical cancer is the human papillomavirus, or HPV, the most common sexually transmitted infection in this country. In addition to regular screenings, the HPV vaccine is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of HPV and prevent cervical cancer. The vaccine is safe and is supported by leading medical organizations.

And as part of the Affordable Care Act, more Americans than ever have access to the preventive health care they need.  This includes Pap tests and cancer screenings, testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and the HPV vaccine — all covered without having to pay out of pocket for copays and other expenses. We encourage women and their families to put their health first and talk to their provider about any preventive care they may need.”

As the nation’s leading women’s health care provider, advocate, and educator, Planned Parenthood encourages every woman to visit her health care provider regularly to receive a checkup that can include cervical cancer screenings, contraceptive counseling, birth control prescriptions, breast exams, and testing for STIs, including HIV.

Planned Parenthood health centers provided nearly 4.5 million STI tests and treatments and nearly 500,000 Pap tests last year, identifying nearly 75,000 women at risk of developing cervical cancer. Planned Parenthood also provided nearly 40,000 HPV vaccinations. Planned Parenthood plays a vital role in the prevention and detection of cervical cancer for our patients. 

Study Findings:

  • More than 50 percent of all new cervical cancer cases are in women who have never been screened or have not been screened in the previous 5 years of their lives.
  • In 2012, 10 percent of women in the U.S. reported they had not been screened in the last 5 years. 
  • As many as 93 percent of cervical cancers could be prevented by screening and HPV vaccination.
  • About 7 in 10 women who have not been screened in the last 5 years have a regular doctor and had health insurance.

More on cervical cancer:

  • Every year, more than 12,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and about 4,000 American women die of the disease. Latinas and African-American women have higher rates of cervical cancer than other groups and are also more likely to die of the disease. 
  • Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers:  when caught early, the five-year survival rate is nearly 100 percent.
  • The frequency for checkups is different for different women, but everyone should see their health care provider regularly. National medical guidelines call for initial Pap tests at age 21; Pap tests every three years for women aged 21–29; and Pap tests every three years for women aged 30–64 (or every five years when combined with an HPV test). Some women may require more frequent Pap tests.
  • Thanks to the Affordable Care Act’s preventive health benefits, more women will have access to routine well-woman exams, cervical cancer screenings, and mammograms for women over 40 without copays or other out-of-pocket expenses. 


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 more than 700 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.


Planned Parenthood Federation of America


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


November 05, 2014