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Am J Prev Med. 2018 Sep;55(3):389-394. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2018.04.028. Epub 2018 Jul 20.

Cervical Cancer Screening Intervals Preferred by U.S. Women.

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Soltera Center for Cancer Prevention and Control, Tucson, Arizona.
Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia. Electronic address:



Many U.S. women continue to be screened annually for cervical cancer, despite current guidelines that recommend 3- or 5-year screening intervals depending on screening modality and patient age.


Data from 2012 and 2015 web-based surveys of U.S. adults were analyzed in 2017 to investigate U.S. women's cervical cancer screening preferences. The study was limited to women aged ≥18 years without a hysterectomy or cervical cancer diagnosis (2012 n=1,380, 2015 n=1,339).


Women's preference for 3- or 5-year screening intervals doubled during the study period (2012: 31.2%, 2015: 64.2%, p<0.001). The most preferred screening options in 2015 were co-testing every 3 years with the Pap and human papillomavirus tests (34.0%) and annual Pap testing (30.4%)-neither of which were recommended at that time or currently. Use of 3- and 5-year Pap testing intervals increased during the study period (2012: 6.9%, 2015: 12.9%, p<0.001), whereas annual Pap testing declined (2012: 48.5%, 2015: 35.6%, p<0.001). Among women who were regularly screened and preferred 3- or 5-year screening intervals, the minority reported screening practices that matched this preference (2012: 24.1%, 2015: 29.3%, p=0.71).


Women's preference for longer cervical cancer screening intervals has increased rapidly and outpaced utilization. At the same time, many women continue to be screened annually. Expanding appropriate screening may require increasing women's and providers' comfort with screening recommendations.

[Available on 2019-09-01]

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