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Prevention - Cervical Cancer Screening

Prevention – Cervical Cancer Screening graph: VA average 93 percent, non-VA average 65 percent

The graph above shows VA medical center scores compared with non-VA hospital scores for cervical cancer screening. The percentages represent the number of patients who received the recommended Pap test. For this measure, a higher percentage indicates a higher quality of care, with 100 percent being the target.

What is this measure?
This measure is used to assess the percentage of women 21 to 64 years of age who received one or more Pap tests during the measurement year or the two years prior to the measurement year.

What are we measuring?
Cervical cancer can be detected in its early stages by regular screening using a Pap test. A number of organizations, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Cancer Society (ACS), recommend Pap testing every one to three years for all women who have been sexually active or who are over 21.

Why is this important?
Multiple studies indicate that over 50% of cervical cancers occur in women who have never been screened. At the same time, many women are screened for cervical cancer more frequently than is supported by the evidence resulting in significant unnecessary health care expenditures and patient inconvenience. Therefore, it is this population that the guideline is intended to impact the greatest. Significant risk factors for cervical cancer are failure to be screened on a regular basis, and a previously abnormal Pap test within the last five years.