Cervical Cancer Awareness

 

Each year about 12,000 American women are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and about 4,000 American women die from cervical cancer (Centers of Disease Control and Prevention). Cervical cancer can be prevented when caught early through a Pap smear or Pap test. A Pap smear is a highly effective screening test that catches abnormal cell changes on the cervix which can be treated before they become cancer.

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is the main cause of cervical cancer, and a very common infection. For a small number of women, HPV can cause cell changes to the cervix that can turn into cervical cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends that women begin having pap tests by age 21, or within three years of first having sex--whichever happens first. After age 30, your healthcare provider may tell you that you can be screened every 2 or 3 years if you have had normal Pap tests.

Because HPV is the main cause of cervical cancer, the HPV vaccine is recommended for females ages 9-26 to prevent HPV and cervical cancer. If you have a daughter of this age, ask your healthcare provider about the HPV vaccine.

The start of a new year is a time to reflect on health, so start this year off by scheduling a visit with your medical provider for a Pap test to check for cervical cancer. If you have no health insurance, please call Citrine Health to see if you qualify at (888) 651-8931 or Washington State Department of Health at (888) 438-2247.

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