Although it is widely accepted that Papanicolaou (Pap) screening can reduce cervical cancer mortality, many women still do not maintain regular cervical cancer screenings.
To describe the prevalence of cervical cancer screening and the demographic, behavioral, psychological, and cancer-related knowledge factors associated with adherence to U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) cervical cancer screening guidelines among women in the United States.
Data for women aged 25–64 were obtained from the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) 2005 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS). Women were considered adherent to screening guidelines if they had two consecutive, on-schedule screenings and planned to have another within the next 3 years. The sample comprised 2070 women.
Ninety-eight percent of women reported ever having a Pap smear, 90% reported having had a recent Pap smear (within 3 years), and 84% were adherent to USPSTF screening guidelines. Maintaining regular cervical cancer screening was significantly associated with having health insurance, normal body mass index (BMI), smoking status (nonsmoker), mood (absence of a mood disturbance), and being knowledgeable about cervical cancer screening and human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.
Based on the observation that women who were current smokers, obese, or experiencing a substantial degree of psychological distress were significantly less likely to adhere to recommended screening guidelines, we suggest that healthcare providers pay particular attention to the screening needs of these more vulnerable women.