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Eight million women in U.S. skip cervical cancer screening in last five years

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that more than 8 million women in the U.S. skipped cervical cancer screening in the past five years.

Cervical cancer is one of the most common types of cancer found in females. Healthcare professionals suggest that both human papillomavirus (HPV) testing and Pap smear tests can help to catch the disease at an early stage. However, a large chunk of the women population in America refuses to take the tests regularly due to the invasive nature.

Health service organizations recommend that women over 21 years should have a pap smear done once in three years. Cancer organizations also recommend that women between 30 and 65 years should have HPV test, as well as Pap smear once in every five years.

"Every visit to a provider can be an opportunity to prevent cervical cancer by making sure women are referred for screening appropriately," says Ileana Arias, Principal Deputy Director of CDC. "We must increase our efforts to make sure that all women understand the importance of getting screened for cervical cancer. No woman should die from cervical cancer."

The CDC reveals that about 11 percent women in the U.S. over age 21, but under the age of 65 years, have not had a cervical cancer screening in the past five years. The percentage went higher to just over 23 percent in women who did not have health insurance. The percentage was even greater for women who did not have a regular physician.

The CDC report also highlights that 12.6 older women did not take the test. The report also found that fewer women in various ethnic backgrounds such as Asians, American Indian, Pacific Islanders and Alaskan Natives took the test.

Cervical cancer screening has helped in the reduction of cervical cancer and cervical cancer-related deaths in the last 40 years, thanks to Pap smears that are believed to save the lives of more than 4,500 women each year in the U.S. However, health agencies stress the importance of cervical cancer screening, which will help reduce cervical cancer and related deaths even more.

The CDC also advocates the use of HPV vaccines in youth as an effective way to prevent cervical cancer. HPV vaccine is easily available and majority of the insurers pay for it. However, a trivial number of parents get their children vaccinated with all three recommended doses of the vaccine. A previous report suggests that in 2013 only 38 percent of girls in between the age of 13 and 17 received all three recommended doses of the vaccine. 

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