Power of Prevention: The Health and Economic Benefits of Preventing Chronic  Diseases

Health and Economic Benefits of Cervical Cancer Interventions

In the past 40 years, the rates deaths from cervical cancer have gone down significantly. This decline is largely the result of many women getting regular Pap tests, which can find cervical precancer before it turns into cancer.1 However, women with lower incomes and less education and women without health insurance coverage get screened less often.2

Cervical Cancer in the United States

  • 12,795 new cervical cancer cases were reported in 2019, and 4,152 women died of it.3
  • The rate for new cervical cancer cases is highest for non-Hispanic Black women, but the death rate is highest for Hispanic women.3

Strategies That Work

CDC is working to prevent cancer, detect it early, and improve the health of people with cancer, which can save lives and reduce health care costs.

To help prevent cervical cancer or catch it early, the US Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening for cervical cancer every 3 years with a Pap test alone in women aged 21 to 29. Women aged 30 to 65 should be screened every 3 years with a Pap test alone, every 5 years with high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) testing alone, or every 5 years with both tests (co-testing).1

Screening reduces diagnoses and deaths from cervical cancer.4 HPV vaccination can reduce new cervical cancer cases, but only about 62% of adolescents were up to date on the HPV vaccine in 2021.5

What Is CDC doing?

CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) helps women with low incomes who are uninsured or underinsured get access to timely breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services. Congress passed the Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Act, which allows states to use Medicaid to cover treatment for women diagnosed with cancer through the NBCCEDP.

The NBCCEDP supports all 50 states, the District of Columbia, 7 US territories, and 13 American Indian or Alaska Native tribes or tribal organizations.

Benefits of Using Proven Strategies

More cervical cancer screening would:

  • REDUCE deaths. Cervical cancer is no longer a leading cause of cancer death in the United States.3
  • PREVENT or detect cancer sooner when it is easier to treat. More than 90% of women diagnosed at an early stage of cervical cancer live for 5 years or more, compared to less than 19% of those diagnosed with late-stage cervical cancer.3
  • REDUCE racial disparities. The 5-year survival rate for cervical cancer is about 58% for non-Hispanic Black women and 67% for non-Hispanic White women, who are more often diagnosed at an earlier stage.3
  • REDUCE health care spending. Screening can identify cervical cancer at an early stage, when it is much less expensive to treat.6
women

About 5.7% of US women aged 21–64 were eligible for NBCCEDP cervical cancer screening services during 2015–2017, based on income and lack of health insurance. The program served 6.8% of eligible women during this time.7

NBCCEDP strategies include:

  • Funding screening and diagnostic services for eligible women.
  • Providing case management to help navigate a complex health system.
  • Supporting population-based approaches that increase high-quality breast and cervical cancer screening.

Since 1991, NBCCEDP-funded programs have:

  • Served more than 6.1 million women and provided more than 15.7 million breast and cervical cancer screening exams.
  • Diagnosed 5,114 cases of invasive cervical cancers and 235,396 precancerous cervical lesions, of which 39% were high-grade (more likely to progress to cancer).
money

$2.3 BILLION

total annual medical cost
of cervical cancer care in 20208

The High Cost of Cervical Cancer in the United States in 2020:

  • Cervical cancer treatment costs accounted for 1% of all cancer treatment costs.8
  • If cancer diagnosis and treatment were divided into phases of care, then the initial phase would be the first year after a diagnosis, the end-of-life phase would be the year before death from cancer, and the continuing care phase would be the time in between these two phases. The average per-patient costs for medical services were highest for the fend-of-life phase ($97,000), followed by the initial care phase ($58,700) and continuing care phase ($4,000).8
  • The average per patient costs for oral prescription drugs were $500 for the last year of life.8
money

$1.6 BILLION

total annual medical cost
of cervical cancer care in 20208

The High Cost of Cervical Cancer in the United States in 2020:

  • Cervical cancer treatment costs accounted for 1% of all cancer treatment costs.8
  • If cancer diagnosis and treatment were divided into phases of care, then the initial phase would be the first year after a diagnosis, the end-of-life phase would be the year before death from cancer, and the continuing care phase would be the time in between these two phases. The average per-patient costs for medical services were highest for the fend-of-life phase ($97,000), followed by the initial care phase ($58,700) and continuing care phase ($4,000).8
  • The average per patient costs for oral prescription drugs were $500 for the last year of life.8
References
  1. US Preventive Services Task Force; Curry SJ, Krist AH, Owens DK, et al. Screening for cervical cancer: US Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. JAMA. 2018;320(7):674–686.
  2. White A, Thompson TD, White MC, et al. Cancer screening test use — United States, 2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep.2017;66:201–206.
  3. Cancer Statistics Working Group. U.S. Cancer Statistics Data Visualizations Tool, based on 2021 submission data (1999–2019): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Cancer Institute; www.cdc.gov/cancer/dataviz, released in November 2022.
  4. Kim JJ, Burger EA, Regan C, Sy S. Screening for cervical cancer in primary care: a decision analysis for the US Preventive Services Task Force. JAMA 2018;320(7):706–714.
  5. Pingali C, Yankey D, Elam-Evans LD, et al. National vaccination coverage among adolescents aged 13–17 years — National Immunization Survey-Teen, United States, 2021. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2022;71:1101–1108.
  6. Subramanian S, Trogdon J, Ekwueme DU, Gardner JG, Whitmire JT, Rao C. Cost of cervical cancer treatment: implications for providing coverage to low-income women under the Medicaid expansion for cancer care. Womens Health Issues. 2010;20(6):400–405
  7. Tangka F, Kenny K, Miller J, Howard DH. The eligibility and reach of the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program after implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Cancer Causes Control. 2020;31(5):473–489.
  8. National Cancer Institute. Financial burden of cancer care. Cancer Trends Progress Report. Updated April 2022. Accessed November 4, 2022.