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Heinrich Joins Bipartisan Letter Urging HHS to Renew Efforts to Increase Cervical Cancer Screening Rates

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) joined U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), and 9 colleagues in sending a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) urging the administration to renew its efforts to increase cervical cancer screening rates. 

Data from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) shows that cervical cancer incidence in women under the age of 50 has been increasing in recent years, in particular for Hispanic and Tribal communities. In light of these increases in cancer rates, the letter reiterates the importance of not only ensuring existing access to cervical cancer screenings but expanding access to new communities and traditionally disadvantaged, underserved populations with disproportionately high cancer rates.  

The senators wrote, in part, “Despite the dramatic reduction in cervical cancer historically, the latest National Cancer Institute (NCI) Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Result Program (SEER) data show that cervical cancer incidence in women under the age of 50 has been increasing — with the sharpest increase in incidence among women aged 30-34. […] These statistics are particularly troubling because cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers when women are routinely screened.” 

They continued, “We urge caution against changes that would further increase intervals between cervical cancer screenings, increase the recommended age to begin screening, or potentially lead to reduced screening rates and confusion among health care providers and their patients. Such changes could make it less likely that women with already low screening rates, or who only periodically receive screenings, are provided with the comprehensive cervical cancer screenings recommended under current USPSTF guidelines.” 

In addition to Heinrich, Shaheen, and Marshall, the letter is co-signed by U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Shelley Moore-Capito (R-W.V.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.). 

Full letter text available HERE.