SOURCE: National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health

February 21, 2008 16:39 ET

Survey: Women Can't Separate Fact From Fiction When It Comes to Cervical Cancer Prevention

Women Are Encouraged to Get Informed About the Link Between HPV and Cervical Cancer and Ask for Comprehensive Screenings

Susan Wysocki of the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health Comments on the Study Findings

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - February 21, 2008) - A new survey released by the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health (NPWH) found that many women are in the dark about what it takes to prevent HPV (human papillomavirus). HPV is the primary cause of cervical cancer, and although awareness of the disease is growing, many women are still confusing common myths with fact when it comes to cancer prevention. And what's more, in women over 30, more than half of those surveyed had not heard of the test for HPV.

Now women can arm themselves with the knowledge they need to stay healthy. This news package plus b-roll will explain why you shouldn't rely solely on pap smears to warn you of danger, why it's up to you to stay informed, what you can do to determine if you have the disease and what you can do to protect yourself if you don't.

Women Most at Risk are Least Aware

According to the survey, women older than 30, who are most at risk of developing cervical cancer, are half as likely as their younger counterparts to recall speaking to their doctors or nurses about HPV and its link to cervical cancer. They also are less knowledgeable about the virus.

Some other major findings of the survey are:

--  More than half of women surveyed did not know that cervical cancer is
--  Nearly one-third erroneously believed the HPV test isn't necessary if
    a woman isn't currently sexually active, or is in a long-term, monogamous
--  Over one-third of the women surveyed did not know that insurance
    usually covers HPV testing.
--  More than a quarter of women believed the Pap is accurate enough to
    find abnormal cells before they become cancerous, especially if a liquid-
    based Pap is used. Yet one study has found that a third of cervical cancers
    occur in women whose Paps appeared normal.

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