Study Reveals Why Women Skip Preventative Care

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According to a recent Ipsos poll commissioned by the Alliance for Women's Health and Prevention (AWHP), nearly half of the women in the United States are not getting the preventive care they need.

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The survey of 3,204 women, which looks at their experiences and challenges with preventative healthcare, found that 45 percent  have skipped things like check-ups and vaccinations in the past year. The most common reasons were high out-of-pocket costs (25 percent) and time constraints (23 percent).

The survey found cervical cancer screening attendance fraught with inequalities based on race and income. Although three out of four women received a cervical cancer screening at some point in their lives, White women were more likely to have accepted the screening (81 percent) compared to Black women (65 percent), Asian women (66 percent), and Hispanic women (68 percent). Insured women were also more likely to have received a screening (79 percent) than uninsured women (51 percent). Medicaid patients were less likely to have had the screening than those with private insurance. The disparities in the screenings compound grim statistics. Hispanic women are 40 percent more likely to get cervical cancer than White women. Black women are more likely to die from it. 

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Ninety-one percent of women feel it's essential to prioritize affordability in preventive care, with 90 percent saying it's important to allow for early disease detection through comprehensive testing. The need for patient-provider relationships was also emphasized, with 89 percent saying it's vital to encourage conversations between patients and providers and shared decision-making. The data highlights how crucial insurance coverage is in ensuring women receive the preventive care they need, with only 34 percent of women saying they would get a cervical cancer screening if their insurance did not cover it.

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Haywood Brown, MD, member of the Board of Directors of AWHP, emphasized the need for action to ensure all women have access to routine OBGYN visits and cervical cancer screenings, regardless of who they are and where they live. “By prioritizing affordability, early detection, patient-provider relationships, and health equity,” said Brown in a statement, “we can ensure that women receive the preventive care they need to lead healthy lives.”