The relationship of Papanicolaou (Pap) testing and cian visits to stage at diagnosis of cervical cancer was assessed by interviews with 149 women with invasive cervical cancer and 214 women with in situ cervical cancer. A significantly smaller percent of study subjects with invasive disease than in situ disease had at least one Pap test in the 3 years prior to diagnosis (age- and race-adjusted odds ratio: 3.38). The two groups did not differ in visits to a physician for other reasons during this period. Pap testing decreased with increasing age for both groups, but not physician visits. While 65% percent of the subjects with invasive disease aged between 65 and 79 years had never had a Pap test until diagnosis, 88% had seen a physician in the preced ing 3 years. Women with regional or distant invasive disease were least likely to have had Pap tests, and, within this group, those aged between 35 and 64 years were also least likely to have seen a physician. Strategies for early detection must reflect missed opportunities and the need to bring those not receiving care into the system.
(Arch Intern Med. 1991;151:58-64)