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American Medical Women's Association Supports New Bill That Requires Medicare Coverage of HPV Testing as Part of Cervical Cancer Screening
Date:11/2/2007

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Nov. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Medical Women's Association (AMWA) today voiced support for a new bill, the Medicare Cervical Cancer Screening and Detection Coverage Act of 2007, that would give older American women greater access to advanced cervical cancer screening techniques. The bill, H.R. 4055, was introduced by Rep. Rosa DeLauro and would require Medicare to cover testing for the human papillomavirus (HPV), in conjunction with a Pap test, as part of cervical cancer screening for older women and disabled women. AMWA represents women in medicine from all sub- specialties and female medical students in the United States.

"The American Medical Women's Association commends Rep. DeLauro for her efforts to protect the health of older women in our country," said Diana J. Galindo, M.D., president of AMWA and a geriatrics medicine physician with the Cleveland Clinic Florida. "HPV testing in conjunction with a Pap test can enable clinicians to identify which women are at increased risk of cervical cancer and thus need more careful monitoring. Knowing this information is especially important for older women, who may think they no longer need to worry about cervical cancer."

Women age 65 and older (those usually covered by Medicare) account for nearly 20 percent of all new cervical cancer cases and more than 35 percent of all deaths from the disease, according to data from the National Cancer Institute.

HPV is understood to be the primary cause of cervical cancer. Studies have shown the Pap test to be between 50 to 70 percent effective at detecting pre- cancerous cervical lesions. Liquid-based Pap technologies and computer- enhanced screening can improve that rate. However, recent studies show that combining an HPV test with a Pap test in women age 30 and older can increase screening accuracy to almost 100 percent and may allow for less frequent testing if both tests are normal.

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SOURCE American Medical Women's Association
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