End Cancer As We Know It - National Women's Health Week 2023
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, women’s preventative health screenings have experienced a decline. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), more than 9.4 million cancer screening tests, such as mammograms, drastically reduced in 2020 as compared to previous years. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Early Detection Program reported a decline of 87% for breast cancer screenings in April 2020 and 84% for cervical cancer screenings as compared with the previous 5-year averages for that month. Prolonged delays in preventative screenings may lead to delayed diagnoses, poor health consequences, and an increase in cancer disparities among women already experiencing health inequities.
"The Return to Screening study” led by the American College of Surgeons and American Cancer Society, is working to close the screening gap with the goal to increase screening rates back to pre-pandemic levels.
- Women should continue to schedule their mammograms and Pap smears (PAPs) to prevent cancer.
- Mammograms are the best available test for early detection of breast cancer and regular mammograms can help find breast cancer at an early stage, when treatment is more likely to be successful!
- Women who have cervical cancer screenings, including PAPs and HPV tests, at regular intervals are rarely found to have cancer and both test are usually done together.
- Stay up-to-date on women’s health screening recommendations.
Federal government agencies are collaborating and actively working to improve cancer disparities, data, and treatment and sharing in the communication of research to improve overall survivor rates and life expectancy.
- The Cancer Moonshot was established in 2016 with new programs and goals introduced in 2022 by President Biden.
- The overall goals of Cancer Moonshot are to reduce the cancer death rate by half within 25 years and to improve the lives of people with cancer and cancer survivors.
- Learn more about the progress Cancer Moonshot is making to eliminate cancer.
- The FCCC is an important offshoot of Cancer Moonshot
- The FCCC is focused on reducing disparities in cervical cancer by working to make cervical cancer screening more equitable among geographically isolated and economically and medically vulnerable populations.
- The FCCC has launched major projects to reduce HPV-associated cervical cancer through primary and secondary prevention methods, including vaccination, screening, and management.
- You can learn more about how the work at the FCCC is impacting women’s health and also about a current study which will provide evidence of the efficacy of one-dose HPV vaccine treatment compared to the current two-dose HPV vaccine treatment. If one dose of the HPV vaccine is found to be sufficient to prevent HPV infections, a more widespread vaccine uptake could be expected.