Important Facts for Cervical Cancer Screening
DefinitionEstimated percentage of women ages 21-65 years who have had a Pap test in the past three years.
NumeratorThe number of women ages 21-65 years who reported having a Pap test in the last three years.
DenominatorThe total number of female survey respondents ages 21-65 years excluding those who responded "don't know" or "refused" to the numerator question.
Data Interpretation IssuesData from the New Jersey Risk Factor Survey are intended to represent non-institutionalized adults in households with telephones. Data are collected using a random sample of all possible telephone numbers. Prior to analysis, data are weighted to represent the population distribution of adults by age, sex, and "race"/ethnicity. As with all surveys, however, some residual bias may result from nonresponse (e.g., refusal to participate in the survey or to answer specific questions) and measurement error (e.g., social desirability or recall). Attempts are made to minimize such error by use of a strict calling protocol (up to 15 calls are made to reach each household), good questionnaire design, standardization of interviewer behavior, interviewer training, and frequent, on-site interviewer monitoring and supervision. Starting in 2011, BRFSS protocol requires that the NJBRFS incorporate a fixed quota of interviews from cell phone respondents along with a new weighting methodology called iterative proportional fitting or "raking". The new weighting methodology incorporates additional demographic information (such as education, race, and marital status) in the weighting process. These methodological changes were implemented to account for the underrepresentation of certain demographic groups in the land line sample (which resulted in part from the increasing number of U.S. households without land line phones). Comparisons between 2011 and prior years should therefore be made with caution. (More details about these changes can be found at [http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6122a3.htm].)
Why Is This Important?Cervical cancer is one of the most curable cancers if detected early through routine screening. Almost all cases of cervical cancer are caused by infection with high-risk types of the human papillomavirus (HPV). The HPV vaccine protects against the HPV types that most often cause cervical cancer. Women who have had an HPV vaccine still need to have routine Pap smears because the vaccine does not fully protect against all the strains of the virus and other risk factors that can cause cervical cancer. HPV is transmitted through sexual contact. Any woman who is sexually active is at risk for developing cervical cancer. Other risk factors include giving birth to many children, having sexual relations at an early age, having multiple sex partners or partners with many other partners, cigarette smoking, and use of oral contraceptives. The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends screening for cervical cancer every 3 years with cervical cytology alone in women aged 21 to 29 years. For women aged 30 to 65 years, the USPSTF recommends screening every 3 years with cervical cytology alone, every 5 years with high-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV) testing alone, or every 5 years with hrHPV testing in combination with cytology (cotesting).
Healthy People Objective: Increase the proportion of women who receive a cervical cancer screening based on the most recent guidelinesU.S. Target: 93.0 percent
State Target: 93.6 percent