Author(s): Hawkins NA, Cooper CP, Saraiya M, Gelb CA, Polonec L
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: To inform campaign development by assessing awareness, previous receipt, and knowledge of the purpose of Papanicolaou (Pap) testing among women aged ≥ 18 years and to identify differences in awareness, receipt, and knowledge by demographic characteristics. METHODS: Data were analyzed from the 2008 HealthStyles survey, an annual mail survey conducted in the United States covering trends in health-related behavior. Women were asked questions on awareness, past use, and knowledge of the purpose of the Pap test and other gynecologic tests and procedures; 2991 women participated. RESULTS: Although 96.7\% of the women had heard of and 93.0\% reported having received a Pap test, these proportions were lower among those who were 18-34 years old and among those who had lower levels of education and income. Over 80\% knew the Pap test was used to screen for cervical cancer, but 63.3\% believed it also was used to screen for vaginal cancer (44.9\%), sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) other than human papillomavirus (HPV) (41.7\%), ovarian cancer (40.6\%), and other cancers and infections. CONCLUSIONS: General familiarity and past receipt of the Pap test were high, but misconceptions about its purpose were prevalent. It is important that women understand what a routine Pap test is and is not capable of detecting so that signs and symptoms of gynecologic conditions other than cervical cancer may be recognized and addressed appropriately.
This article was published in J Womens Health (Larchmt)
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy