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Important Facts for Cervical Cancer Screening (Pap)


The proportion of women 18 years or older who reported having a Pap test in the last three years.


The proportion of women 18 years or older who reported having a Pap test in the last three years.


The total number of female survey respondents aged 18 or older excluding those who responded "don't know" or "refused" to the numerator question.

Data Interpretation Issues

To reduce bias and more accurately represent population data, the BRFSS has changed survey methodology. In 2010, it began conducting surveys by cellular phone in addition to landline phones. It also adopted "iterative proportional fitting" (raking) as its weighting method. More details about these changes can be found at: [].

Why Is This Important?

Cervical cancer is one of the most curable cancers if detected early through routine screening. Almost all cases of cervical cancer are caused by infection of high-risk types of the human papillomavirus (HPV). The HPV vaccine protects against the HPV types that most often cause cervical cancer. Women who have had an HPV vaccine still need to have routine Pap smears because the vaccine does not fully protect against all the strains of the virus and other risk factors that can cause cervical cancer. HPV is transmitted through sexual contact. Any woman who is sexually active is at risk for developing cervical cancer. Other risk factors include giving birth to many children, having sexual relations at an early age, having multiple sex partners or partners with many other partners, cigarette smoking, and use of oral contraceptives. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends cervical cancer screening (Pap smear) every 3 years for women 21 to 65 years old. For women 30 to 65 years old, Pap smears may be conducted every 5 years in conjunction with human papillomavirus (HPV) testing.

Healthy People Objective C-15:

Increase the proportion of women who receive a cervical cancer screening based on the most recent guidelines
U.S. Target: 93.0 percent
State Target: currently being revised

How Are We Doing?

Cervical cancer screening rates have continually fallen since 2010 at both the state and national level. Between 2012 and 2019, the percentage of Utah women aged 18 or older who reported receiving a Pap test within the last three years decreased from 70.7% to 58.8% (age-adjusted rates), compared to a national rate of around 70%. Cervical cancer screening rates in Utah vary by geography, ethnicity, race, socio-economic status, and age. For combined years 2018 and 2019, San Juan (44%) and Central Utah (52.1%) local health districts reported the lowest cervical cancer screening rates when compared to the state rate (60%), while Salt Lake County reported a significantly higher rate (63.4%). See additional data views for screening rates by Utah Small Areas. In 2019, women who identified as Hispanic reported receiving a screening for cervical cancer within the past 3 years at a higher rate (67%) than women who identified as non-Hispanic (57.8%). Those who identified racially as Pacific Islander reported the lowest rates (49.7%), while those who identified as Black (79%) and American Indian/Alaskan Native (70.2%) reported the highest rates in 2018-2019. In 2019, and when looking at the highest level of education completed, college graduates (62.7%) were more likely to have received a Pap test than those with a high school diploma (59.5%), some post high school education (57.7%), or those with no high school degree (54.9%). Women in households with annual incomes less than $25,000 were less likely to have had a Pap test (52.2%) in 2019 than women in households with higher incomes (total 58.8%). Women age 18-34 years old (62%) and age 50-64 years old (59%) were significantly less likely to have had a Pap test in 2019 than women age 35-49 (74%). The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force does not recommend screening for cervical cancer in women older than 65 years who have had adequate prior screening and are not otherwise high risk for cervical cancer.

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

Cervical cancer screening rates have continually fallen since 2010 at both the state and national level. Screening rates in Utah have also consistently been lower than national rates. Nationally, the percentage of women aged 18 or older who reported receiving a Pap test in the past three years decreased from 80.7% in 2010 to 71.7% in 2018. In Utah, the percentage of women who received a pap test decreased from 74.3% in 2010 to 63.4% in 2018. The latest state rates from 2019 indicate that only 58.8% have received a cervical cancer screening test within the past 3 years.

What Is Being Done?

The Utah Cancer Control Program (UCCP) provides vouchers for free Pap tests and pelvic exams to women who meet age and income guidelines. Eligible women with abnormal screening exams are offered diagnostic evaluation by participating providers. In addition, the UCCP provides education about the need for early detection and the availability of screening services, collects outcome data, and disseminates information about cervical cancer. The Utah Department of Health also initiated the Utah Cancer Action Network (UCAN), a statewide partnership whose goal is to reduce the burden of cancer. The mission of the UCAN is to lower cancer incidence and mortality in Utah through collaborative efforts directed toward cancer prevention and control. As a result of this planning process, objectives and strategies have been developed by community partners regarding the early detection of cervical, testicular, prostate, skin, breast, and colorectal cancers as well as the promotion of physical activity, healthy eating habits, and smoking cessation.

Health Program Information

In 1976, the Utah Department of Health received a cervical cancer grant from the National Cancer Institute. In 1980, the Utah Department of Health began providing clinical breast exams and Pap tests on a sliding fee scale. In 1993, state funding was appropriated for mammography. In that same year, the Utah Cancer Control Program (UCCP) first received a capacity building grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct breast and cervical cancer screening in Utah. A comprehensive grant was awarded to the program in 1994 to continue breast and cervical cancer screening. Since 1994, the UCCP and partners, including local health departments, mammography facilities, pathology laboratories, and private providers, have worked together to ensure the appropriate and timely provision of clinical services. The UCCP continues to receive funding from the CDC for breast and cervical cancer screening. Additionally, the UCCP receives funding to implement comprehensive cancer control strategies that were identified by the Utah Cancer Action Network (UCAN) statewide partnership.
The information provided above is from the Department of Health's Center for Health Data IBIS-PH web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Mon, 06 December 2021 5:07:32 from Department of Health, Center for Health Data, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: ".

Content updated: Fri, 12 Mar 2021 13:25:45 MST