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Cancer Causes Control. 2015 May;26(5):713-9. doi: 10.1007/s10552-015-0542-3. Epub 2015 Mar 10.

The effectiveness of targeting never or rarely screened women in a national cervical cancer screening program for underserved women.

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Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 4770 Buford Highway NE, Mailstop F-76, Atlanta, GA, 30341, USA,



To evaluate the effectiveness of a policy supporting early detection and prevention of cervical cancer among low-income and uninsured women by comparing women who reported never or rarely being screened (last screen >5 years) to those who reported screening in the past ≤5 years.


We analyzed data from 1,485,251 women who received their first Pap test in the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) from July 2002 through June 2012. Of these, 461,893 women (31 %) reported being never or rarely screened and 1,023,358 (69 %) reported being screened in the past 5 years. Demographic (age, race/ethnicity, residence, and region) and clinic (cytologic and histologic results) characteristics were examined for the two groups.


Women who were aged ≥50 years, Asian and Pacific Islander, American Indian or Alaska Native, multiracial, living in non-metro areas, or living in the South or a territory were more likely to report being never or rarely screened. The percentage of abnormal Pap tests and the rate of precancer and cancer (combined) was higher in the never or rarely screened group compared with the screened group (abnormal percentage: 2.9 vs 2.6 %, p value < 0.01; rate of precancer and cancer: 6.9 vs 3.7 per 1,000 women, p value < 0.01).


The priority of reaching never or rarely screened women should continue since those women who entered the NBCCEDP not adequately screened had a greater prevalence of high-grade histological lesions and invasive cervical cancers at later stages than women screened more recently.

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