(HealthDay News) — Cervical cancer screening rates are only about 70 percent among women ages 45 to 65 years, according to a study published online Nov. 1 in Preventive Medicine.

Diane M. Harper, M.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues used data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS 2016), the Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS 2017), and the Health Center Patient Survey (HCPS 2014) to understand the predictors of cervical cancer screening in women aged 45 to 65 years.

The researchers found that overall, Pap screening rates were 71 percent (BRFSS), 79 percent (HINTS), and 66 percent (HCPS). Women ages 60 to 64 (adjusted prevalence ratio [aPR], 0.88) and those in rural locations (aPR, 0.95) were significantly less likely to report cervical cancer screening versus women 45 to 49 years old or in urban locations. Women with more education or insurance reported more screening (aPR, 1.20 and 1.47, respectively) versus those with less than a high school education and those who are uninsured. Similar trends were seen with HINTS and HCPS data. The researchers concluded that the cervical cancer screening rates shown in the three surveys are insufficient to reduce cervical cancer incidence.

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“To us, this suggests we still need to do a much better job at helping women, especially in these more vulnerable populations, understand the importance of screening as they age, and to continue to work to remove ongoing barriers to access,” Harper said in a statement.

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