About the Workgroup

Despite recent increases in incidence and mortality, cervical cancer remains an important problem for women in South Carolina, where approximately 170 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 65 die from the disease each year.

Three major strategies to help eliminate cervical cancer are to make routine screenings readily accessible to women of all ages, promote adherence to follow-up exams, and promote the use of HPV vaccines among those eligible. While regular participation in cervical cancer screening tests has drastically reduced the rate of new cervical cancer cases and deaths, these rates remain significantly higher in Black and Hispanic women compared to White women.

Cervical cancer is curable if discovered early and can be detected by a Pap test. It is recommended that women between the ages of 21-65 receive a Pap test every three years, while women between the ages of 30-65 who want to prolong the screening interval should receive both a Pap test and HPV test every 5 years.

Search for “cervical” at www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org for discussion of cytology method, HPV testing, and screening interval.


HPV Vaccination

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common virus that is spread through skin to skin contact. Usually it has no symptoms, so people do not know they have it. Most viral infections clear on their own. However, cancer-causing types of HPV can cause cancers in both men and women. The virus is also known to cause genital warts in both males and females. HPV vaccines work by preventing the most common types of HPV that cause cancer and genital warts. The most common vaccine can prevent up to 90% of HPV-related cancers if given prior to any HPV infection. Annually in South Carolina approximately 170 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 65 will die from this disease.

 HPV vaccination represents a significant public health opportunity because it can prevent cervical cancer and other types of cancer from ever occurring. The focus of this subsection of the Cancer Plan is to promote statewide HPV vaccine awareness, HPV vaccine education for those who could benefit from the vaccination, and HPV vaccination uptake and completion of the series.