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J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2012 Jul;21(7):776-82. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2011.3224. Epub 2012 Apr 16.

Timeliness of cervical cancer diagnosis and initiation of treatment in the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program.

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  • 1Epidemiology and Applied Research Branch, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA.



To examine time intervals from cervical cancer screening to diagnosis and treatment initiation among low-income and uninsured women in the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) during two consecutive time periods.


We analyzed NBCCEDP data for women with abnormal Pap tests (n=100,167), from which 1,417 invasive cervical cancers were diagnosed. We examined two time intervals for this study: diagnostic interval (time from abnormal Pap test to the date of definitive diagnosis) and treatment initiation interval (time from definitive diagnosis to treatment initiation) for two time periods: 1996-2002 and 2003-2009. We compared median time intervals for diagnostic and treatment initiation using the Kruskal-Wallis test. Adjusted proportions (predicted marginals) were calculated using logistic regression to examine diagnosis and treatment within program benchmarks (≤60 days).


Median diagnostic intervals decreased overall by 6 days (54 vs. 48 days, p<0.001). This decrease in the median diagnostic interval was noted for all variables examined. The median treatment initiation intervals remained stable over the two time periods.


Women screened by the NBCCEDP receive diagnostic follow-up and initiate treatment within preestablished program guidelines.

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