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Cervical Cancer Messages in Women’s Magazines: A Content Analysis Grounded in the Extended Parallel Process Model
Unformatted Document Text:  Cervical Cancer 26 Notes 1 The pap test, sometimes called a pap smear, is a medical test designed to examine cells collected from the cervix (the lower, narrow end of the uterus). By examining the cells collected through this test, it is possible to detect the presence of infection, inflammation, abnormal cells suggestive of cervical cancer, or the presence of invasive cancer. Because of its overall effectiveness in detecting abnormalities, the pap test is regarded as the most effective cancer screening test created to date (National Institutes of Health [NIH], n. d.). 2 Studies have found several types of the human papillomavirus (HPV) in more than 93 percent of cases of cervical cancer (NIH, n. d.). This is especially alarming because an estimated 75% of all people in their reproductive years have been infected with one or more types of HPV, many of which have no symptoms, may go undetected, and are easily spread through skin to skin contact (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2001). The CDC estimates that there are between 500,000 and 1 million new cases of HPV across the United States each year (2001). 3 Ways that women can personally increase the effectiveness of pap smears include scheduling the appointment for the annual pap test so it falls in the middle of the menstrual cycle, not engaging in sexual activities for 24 hours prior to a pap test, and not douching for at least 24 hours prior to a pap test. Perhaps more importantly, women can request more sensitive pap tests (such as ThinPrep) that are available but rarely used in busy gynecological centers and are not usually covered under insurance (CDC, 2002).

Authors: Brown, Colleen. and Lewis, Melissa.
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Cervical Cancer 26
Notes
1
The pap test, sometimes called a pap smear, is a medical test designed to examine cells
collected from the cervix (the lower, narrow end of the uterus). By examining the cells collected
through this test, it is possible to detect the presence of infection, inflammation, abnormal cells
suggestive of cervical cancer, or the presence of invasive cancer. Because of its overall
effectiveness in detecting abnormalities, the pap test is regarded as the most effective cancer
screening test created to date (National Institutes of Health [NIH], n. d.).
2
Studies have found several types of the human papillomavirus (HPV) in more than 93
percent of cases of cervical cancer (NIH, n. d.). This is especially alarming because an estimated
75% of all people in their reproductive years have been infected with one or more types of HPV,
many of which have no symptoms, may go undetected, and are easily spread through skin to skin
contact (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2001). The CDC estimates that
there are between 500,000 and 1 million new cases of HPV across the United States each year
(2001).
3
Ways that women can personally increase the effectiveness of pap smears include
scheduling the appointment for the annual pap test so it falls in the middle of the menstrual cycle,
not engaging in sexual activities for 24 hours prior to a pap test, and not douching for at least 24
hours prior to a pap test. Perhaps more importantly, women can request more sensitive pap tests
(such as ThinPrep) that are available but rarely used in busy gynecological centers and are not
usually covered under insurance (CDC, 2002).


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