January is Cervical Health Awareness Month and the New Year is a great time to raise awareness about cervical health and the importance of receiving regular cervical cancer screenings. According to the American Cancer Society, cervical cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer but still takes thousands of women’s lives every year. Early vaccination for Human Papillomavirus Virus (HPV) and regular screening can help prevent cervical cancer and limit the adverse outcomes of the disease.
Neighborhood’s Measurement Year (MY) 2020 Healthcare Effectiveness Data Information Set (HEDIS®) rate for the Cervical Cancer Screening measure stood at 73.83% for our Medicaid members and rated in the Medicaid Quality Compass® (QC) 95th percentile. The HPV vaccination rates for adolescent girls by age 13 increased in MY 2020 to 52.55% compared to MY2019 rate of 48.91% and rated in the QC 90th percentile. Although these rates placed Neighborhood in the upper ranks of Medicaid plans nationally, the percentages themselves show significant opportunity for improvement.
How can you Help?
The American Cancer Society recommends the following guidelines to prevent cervical cancer and to help detect cervical cancer earlier:
- Cervical Cancer screening should begin at age 25.
- Those age 25 to 65 should have a HPV test every 5 years. If primary testing is not available, screening may be done with either a co-test that combines an HPV test with a Papanicolaou (Pap) test every 5 years or a Pap test alone every 3 years. If members are older than 65 years old, they may not need to be screened anymore if there was a normal screening test for several years or if cervix was removed as part of a total hysterectomy for non-cancerous conditions, like fibroids.
- People who have had a total hysterectomy (removal of the uterus and cervix) should stop screening (such as Pap tests and HPV tests), unless the hysterectomy was done as a treatment for cervical cancer or serious pre-cancer. People who have had a hysterectomy without removal of the cervix (called a supra-cervical hysterectomy) should continue cervical cancer screening according to the guidelines above.
- HPV vaccination should start for both girls and boys at age 11 or 12 but can be given effectively as early as age 9.
For more information about preventing cervical cancer and HPV infections, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/cervical or the American Cancer Society at http://www.cancer.org
HEDIS® is a registered trademark of the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).
Quality Compass® is a registered trademark of the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA)