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Controversy, Confusion Continues Over Cervical Cancer Screening

Controversy And Confusion Continues Over Cervical Cancer Screening


At A Time When 8 Million Women Ages 21-65 Years old have not been screened for Cervical Cancer in the past five years, a new survey shows confusion over whether Pap Test, HPV Test or both screenings are the best approach to detecting the disease.

A new survey—Cervical Cancer Today: A National Survey of Attitudes and Behaviors—paints a picture of women and their healthcare providers as hesitant to changes in cervical cancer screening. This comes at a time when many doctors are debating the best approach for cervical cancer screening, the value of the Pap test, and how often women should be tested for the disease.

Cervical cancer used to be the leading cause of cancer death for women in the U.S., but now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says there’s been a significant decline, attributable to the widespread adoption of the Pap test. However, the topic of cervical cancer screening has been under scrutiny recently as experts grapple with when and how to best utilize Pap and HPV testing, potentially causing a confusing environment.


CERVICAL CANCER  screening infographic

Consensus guidelines call for Pap tests only for women ages 21 to 29 years old, or else, co-testing with Pap and HPV tests for women ages 30 to 65 years old. The survey, conducted jointly by the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health (NPWH) and Healthy Women, reveals attitudes of women and healthcare providers around cervical cancer screening:

  • 91 percent of healthcare providers say they believe the Pap test should remain part of front line screening, and 90 percent of women echoed this perspective, reporting that the Pap test is important to their overall health and well-being
  • Co-testing has been widely adopted by healthcare providers, especially among nurse practitioners and OB-GYNs, 83 percent of whom say it adds value to their patients’ health
  • The majority of healthcare providers said they prefer to see their patients every one to three years for cervical cancer screening, and nearly 70 percent of women indicate they would be concerned about a five-year screening interval
  • 80 percent of women will get HPV and the vast majority of those infections will resolve on their own – something just 15 percent of women understand


Laurie Lemieux, Doctor of Nursing Practice and a women’s health nurse practitioner joined me in an interview to speak further about the survey results on behalf of NPWH and HealthyWomen and cervical cancer screening.

Joining Laurie was Tamika Felder, a cervical cancer survivor and founder of Tamika & Friends, Inc., a national non-profit organization dedicated to cervical cancer awareness through a network of survivors and their friends.  After a diagnosis of cervical cancer at the age of 25, Felder decided to use her experiences and her voice to help educate other women about ways to prevent the disease.

cervical cancer screening

Take a look at the interview below:



To learn more and stay current on all of the latest information regarding cervical cancer screening, visit: : www.npwh.org or www.healthywomen.org.

cervical cancer screening


Meet our guests:


cervical cancer screeningLaurie Lemieux, DNP

Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner

Reiter, Hill, Johnson & Nevin

Mary “Laurie” Lemieux is a women’s health nurse practitioner who has been in practice in the Washington, DC area since 1994. She holds a bachelor of science in nursing from St. Louis University, a master of science from University of Maryland, and a doctorate in nursing practice from Johns Hopkins University.  Her research at Johns Hopkins focused on the role of human papilloma virus for cervical cancer screening.  She was on the nursing faculty at The Catholic University of Maryland from 2004-2012 teaching undergraduate, masters and doctoral level courses including pathophysiology, pharmacology, and evidence based practice.


Dr. Lemieux’s publications include:

  • Lemieux,  M.L.(2009). Abnormal cervical Pap smear. In V. Long & P. McMullen (Eds.).Telephone Triage for Obstetrics and Gynecology(2nd ed). Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins
  • Lemieux,  M.L.(2009). Colposcopy. In V. Long & P. McMullen (Eds.).Telephone Triage for Obstetrics and Gynecology(2nd ed). Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins
  • Lemieux, M.L. (2010).  Primary screening for cervical cancer: Incorporating new guidelines and new technologies into clinical practice. The Journal for Nurse Practitioners,6(6), 417-424.



cervical cancer screeningTamika Felder

Founder and CEO

Tamika & Friends, Inc. 

Tamika Felder is a Cervivor (cervical cancer survivor + passionate advocate = Cervivor), and founder of Tamika & Friends, Inc., a national non-profit organization dedicated to cervical cancer awareness through a network of survivors and their friends. After a diagnosis of advanced cervical cancer in 2001 at the age of 25, Ms. Felder decided to use her experience and her voice to help educate other women about ways to prevent cervical cancer. By telling her story, Ms. Felder inspired other women to start speaking about HPV and cervical cancer, which led to a network of survivors supporting each other and educating each other. From this network, Cervivor was born. 

Ms. Felder’s inspiring story has been featured in numerous media outlets around the globe. Ms. Felder has served as a survivor spokesperson for the LIVESTRONG Foundation, has served as community representative for the President’s Cancer Panel (2003), and is a former board member of the Ulman Cancer Foundation for Young Adults. She served as a patient advocate member of the Gynecological Oncology Group and the National Cancer Institute’s Gynecologic Cancer Steering Committee- Cervical Task Force. She is also a former member of the District of Columbia’s Cancer Plan’s Gynecological Cancer Committee and the Maryland Cancer Plan’s Cervical Cancer Committee. Ms. Felder currently serves on the board of the Global Coalition Against Cervical Cancer.


Ms. Felder’s honors and awards include:

  • Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults’ “Young Adult Fight” Award (2011)
  • Washington Area Women’s Foundation 1st Annual “Be That Woman” (2010)
  • Spirit Foundation’s Cervical Cancer Survivor Champion Award (2009)
  • Maryland Healthcare Volunteer Hero Award (2009)
  • Women in Government’s Presidential Leadership Award (2006)

Ms. Felder currently resides in the Washington, D.C. area and is an award-winning television producer and TV host.

cervical cancer screening

Wife. Mom. Believer. Writer. Advocate.

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[…] once routine – an annual Pap test, along with a breast and pelvic exam – may not be any more. Many women are confused and concerned about the changes, which means now is the time for them to talk with their health care providers about the important […]

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