January is cervical health awareness month

Published Dec 25, 2016 at 9:00am

January is Cervical Health Awareness month, which means that it is a great time to get screened for cervical cancer.

This is also an opportunity for parents and grandparents to get pre-teens vaccinated against the HPV vaccine. HPV (human papillomavirus) is a very common infection that spreads through sexual activity. It’s also a major cause of cervical cancer. About 79 million Americans have HPV, but many do not know they are infected. The HPV vaccine is cancer prevention.

Good news:

· The HPV vaccine (shot) can prevent HPV. The HPV vaccine is a series of three shots over six months, and approved for girls and boys 9-26 years old.  

· Cervical cancer can often be prevented with regular screening tests and follow up care.

CDC recommends:

· Women to start getting regular Pap tests at age 21

· Encouraging Parents to make sure their pre-teens get the HPV vaccine at age 11 or 12.

Thanks to cervical screening and the HPV vaccine, the cervical cancer death rate has been reduced by 50 percent. Cervical cancer screenings, or pap smears, can detect changes
in the cervix before cancer
develops. 

Additional info:

Women ages 21 to 65 should get regular pap tests. If you are not currently sexually active, it is still important to have a pap test.

The only women who do not need regular Pap tests are:

Women ages 65 and older who have had three normal Pap tests in a row and no abnormal test results in the last 10 years, and have been told by their doctors that they don’t need to be tested.

Women who do not have a cervix (usually because of a hysterectomy) and who do not have a history of cervical cancer or abnormal Pap results.

All women should speak to a doctor before stopping regular Pap tests. For questions about the HPV vaccine, contact your primary care doctor, or the Oneida County Health Department clinic at 798-5747.

If you do not have health insurance to pay for cervical screening (pap smear), the Oneida County Health Department’s Cancer Services Program of Oneida, Herkimer and Madison Counties (CSP) may be able to help. The CSP can pay for breast and cervical screening for uninsured women ages 40 to 64, and colon screening for uninsured men and women ages 50 to 64.

For people with insurance but who have a high deductible, the CSP may be able to help pay.

For more information, call 798-5248 or go to ohmcancerservices.org.