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Information for Cervical Cancer Screening

Because of recent Medicare changes to pay for Pap tests more frequently, the National Cancer Institute, in partnership with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (formerly HCFA), has launched a new packet of educational materials to help physicians communicate with women 65 and older about cervical cancer and Pap testing.

The packet contains clear and useful cervical cancer information for health professionals to use with their patients. It includes a new brochure on Pap tests designed for older women and a resource guide, which includes statistics of cervical cancer and lists written materials available for health professionals to use in their practice. The kit also features a Pap test reminder pad in English and Spanish. Similar to a prescription pad, the reminder pad can be used by physicians who can tear off a sheet to write in the date for the patient's next Pap test on top. It also discusses why a woman should have routine Pap tests. Women can leave their health professional's office with this fact sheet that also serves as an appointment reminder.

NCI encourages physicians and health professionals to order not only the pad, but also the entire contents of the kit as a tool for patient education. Research suggests that older women rely on their physicians to inform them about the need for cervical cancer screenings. At age 65, most women incorrectly believe that they no longer need a Pap test and that the risk of cervical cancer declines with age. The packet dispels that notion.

Over the next year, the packet will be distributed nationally to medical societies, health care organizations, consumer groups and government agencies. To view a sample packet, visit http://cancer.gov/publications, search under key word "Pap tests" and click on "Health Professionals Pap Test Packet."


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