Washington, DC, June 28, 2005 - Eighty-eight percent of women rely on their healthcare providers to learn about gynecological issues, yet only 19 percent said their doctor has talked to them about cervical cancer and its cause - the human papillomavirus (HPV) - according to a new survey released by the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals (ARHP). HPV is extremely common, affecting an estimated 80 percent of sexually active adults in their lifetime, in some cases staying dormant until years after the initial infection. Yet few are talking about the relationship between HPV and cervical cancer despite the fact that advanced screening is available, which can detect the virus early and help prevent cervical cancer.
"The communications gap between providers and patients related to cervical cancer and HPV is an issue that is largely due to time constraints, and a reluctance to discuss a sexually transmitted infection with women," said Dr. Beth Jordan, medical director at ARHP. "But because new techniques, including improved types of diagnostic testing, now make cervical cancer a disease that can be better prevented, we're encouraging women to discuss with their healthcare provider their HPV risk, get regular screenings with the Pap test and, if they are age 30 or older, ask about HPV testing as well."
Other major findings from the report show:
Only 17 percent of women know that cervical cancer is the most preventable cancer. In contrast, 59 percent believe either breast (30 percent) or lung (29 percent) cancer is most preventable. While there are risk factors associated with other cancers, only cervical cancer has a single known cause - HPV.
Only 23 percent of women surveyed correctly identified HPV as the primary cause of cervical cancer.
Women Most at Risk are Least Aware
According to the survey, women age 30 and under, who are least at risk for cervical cancer, are most knowledgeable about its cause an
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