Reduce Disparities in Gynecological Care

Reduce Disparities in Gynecological Care

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Emma Grabinski started this petition to Health professionals who provide care to people with a cervix

Recently published cervical cancer screening guidelines from the American Cancer Society (ACS) suggest moving toward HPV testing alone and away from the most successful cancer screening tool in history – Pap testing. They also propose delaying the start of cervical cancer screening from 21 years to 25 years old.

As dedicated gynecological health providers and advocates, we want to express our disagreement with these changes, which have the potential to increase already troubling screening disparities in people who access gynecological care.

We join with several hundred colleagues who have already spoken out about these new guidelines and the damage they may cause.

Our primary concerns:

 - The guidelines acknowledge Black, Indigenous, and Latinx women have higher rates of cervical cancer, yet limiting screening options and testing fewer people will only widen these disparity gaps and simultaneously increase socioeconomic and geographic barriers.

 - These guidelines were based on a proprietary model, and conclusions based on the model are inherently contradictory. In fact, real-world data show HPV testing alone misses twice as many people who develop cervical cancer as co-testing with both the Pap and HPV tests at the same time. This statistic shows why gynecological health providers cannot settle for insufficient screening.

 - Although the rate of cervical cancer is low in patients younger than 25 years, it is not nonexistent. Delaying screening until age 25 will result in missed cases among younger people and ultimately harm the integrity of the provider-patient relationship. This is especially true for Black, Indigenous, and Latinx women, who are disproportionately more likely to develop cervical cancer at a younger age.

Maintaining all screening options is critical to ensure people of all racial and socioeconomic backgrounds receive the care they need.
We ask that all societies and those who develop screening guidelines consider our concerns and uphold the standard of Pap testing for people under 30 years and Pap + hrHPV co-testing for people over 30 years. Now is the time to affirm support for Pap testing to give clinicians and patients clarity in the fight against this preventable disease.

Emma Grabinski, M.D. FACOG

Rebecca Dunsmoor-Su, M.D., MSCE

Jessica Shepherd, M.D., MBA

Tara Hayes Constant, PhD, MPH, MSN, ARNP

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