Cancer of the uterine cervix, the sixth most common cancer among women, is still considered a significant health problem, despite declining mortality rates during recent decades. In Baltimore, the age-adjusted mortality rates for cervical cancer are significantly higher than the U.S. average, for both black and white women. Early detection of cervical cancer through screening with the Papanicolaou (Pap) test has been shown to decrease mortality by preventing development of invasive disease, and intervention programs have been developed to increase use of Pap testing. However, the evaluation of those programs is difficult, as self-reports of Pap screening may be inaccurate, and repeated inquiries about Pap tests may influence the behavior being studied. We report in this article a method to use data from cytopathology laboratories to estimate the use of Pap screening by women in a defined population. This approach can be used to evaluate changes in receipt of Pap smears and to provide feedback to intervention programs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health