Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Routine Pap Tests Can Prevent Cervical Cancer

Maine CDC reminds women of the importance of regular screenings to prevent cervical cancer as it recognizes January as National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month.

“As many as 93 percent of cervical cancers could be prevented by screening and HPV vaccination’’ said Dr. Sheila Pinette, Director of the Maine CDC. “If a woman has never had a Pap test or it has been more than three years since her last test, it may be time for her to speak with a healthcare provider and schedule a test.”

Before the development of the Pap test, cervical cancer was one of the most common causes of cancer death for American women. As an available, accepted, and cost-effective screening test, the Pap test can detect cervical cell changes before they become cancerous. Governor Paul LePage and First Lady Ann LePage encourage Maine women to take this important preventative measure because of its effectiveness.

Starting at age 21, routine Pap tests for women can find potentially cancerous cells growing in the cervix. As the Human papillomavirus (HPV) is associated with most cervical cancers, current cervical cancer screening recommendations include the high-risk HPV DNA test along with the Pap test for women age 30-65. Women should talk with their doctors, as screening recommendations can vary for each individual.

The Maine CDC Breast and Cervical Health Program can provide information about screening tests, as well as limited resources for free cancer screening services for women over age 35 who have never had a Pap test and meet financial eligibility requirements. Those interested can call 1-800-350-5180 or 1-207-287-8068. TTY users can call Maine Relay at 711.

More details can also be found at: http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/population-health/bcp/index.htm

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