Cobb & Douglas Public Health (CDPH) advises women to make Pap tests and screenings part of their New Year’s resolutions for Cervical Cancer Awareness Month in January, 2017.
Cervical cancer affects the reproductive organs of women and is one of the most preventable cancers in that category. Because it is almost always caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), getting an annual Pap smear and the HPV test can easily screen for and detect cancerous cells in a woman’s cervix.
In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 4,217 women in the United States died from cervical cancer, and 11,955 women in the U.S. were newly diagnosed. Black women were more likely to die of cervical cancer than other group, followed by Hispanic women. Regular Pap tests could have prevented these unnecessary deaths.
Despite these alarming numbers, the rates of cervical cancer have been steadily declining as more women get their doctor-recommended screenings.
Most women ages 21 and older should have a Pap test every three years if their first test is normal. Women over the age of 30 may choose to combine the HPV test with their regular Pap screenings, as cervical cancer most commonly occurs in women 30 years of age and older. The HPV vaccine is also recommended to boys and girls ages 11 and 12, but can be completed up until the age of 26.
“Eligible low income women in Cobb and Douglas counties can contact CDPH to see if they qualify for low or no-cost Pap tests through the BreasTest & More program, so our residents can easily make regular Pap screenings part of their routine care,” said Dawn Krahwinkel, CDPH Women’s Health Coordinator and STI Program Director.
For more information, please visit www.cobbanddouglaspublichealth.org or call 770-514-2300.