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Survey Shows Most Women Can't Separate Fact From Fiction When It Comes to Cervical Cancer Prevention
Date:2/20/2008

National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health (NPWH)

Encourages Women to Get Informed and Ask for Comprehensive Screening

WASHINGTON, Feb. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite growing awareness of HPV (human papillomavirus), the primary cause of cervical cancer, a new survey released by the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health (NPWH) found that many women remain in the dark about what it takes to prevent the disease. Despite the fact that there is now a vaccine that can prevent infection with the most common types of HPV and a test that identifies who is infected, most of the 1,000 women surveyed often confused myth with fact when quizzed about cervical cancer prevention.

"One of the myths the survey revealed was that women think they're out of the woods if they've been in a long-term relationship. In fact, however, HPV can stay in the body for many years. It only takes one relationship for an infection to take hold," says Susan Wysocki, NP, president and CEO of NPWH. "Another myth revealed by the survey is that women don't think they need the HPV test if they've had normal Pap smears all their lives. However, the Pap isn't foolproof. It's still possible to suddenly discover you have invasive cancer despite a history of normal Paps. Getting the HPV test along with your Pap if you're over 30 -- when you are most at risk -- provides maximum peace of mind."

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.

-- Although 90 percent of women 30 and older considered themselves

somewhat or very familiar with the preventive tests they need, 58

percent had not heard of the HPV test, and 86 percent did not rec
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SOURCE National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women'sHealth (NPWH)
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