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Natl Health Stat Report. 2011 Jun 1;(40):1-6.

Liquid-based cytology test use by office-based physicians: United States, 2006-2007.

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Division of Health Care Statistics, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, Hyattsville, MD 20782, USA.



In the United States, liquid-based cytology (LBC) has become a common screening method for cervical cancer. However, the extent of LBC use, and how it varies by patient and practice characteristics, is unknown.


This report describes the ordering and provision of Papanicolaou (Pap) tests, with a major focus on the extent to which LBC has supplanted conventional cytology. The type of Pap test is examined for visits made to primary care physicians in 2006-2007 by females aged 15-64.


Estimates of Pap test cytology use (both LBC and conventional) are based on combined data from the 2006-2007 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS), an annual nationally representative survey of visits to nonfederal office-based physicians in the United States, as well as on information reported by sample physicians in Cervical Cancer Screening Supplements fielded as part of NAMCS during the same years.


In 2006-2007, LBC was used in approximately 75% of Pap tests for which the type of cytology was known. LBC was less likely to be used for Medicare patients than for privately insured patients, although LBC use did not vary significantly according to the other patient or practice characteristics examined.


The high percentage of LBC use by office-based physicians in 2006-2007 confirms the widespread use of this screening method among primary care providers, as has been reported in the literature.

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