Maine CDC reminds women of the importance of regular screenings to prevent cervical cancer. January is designated National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, and according to DHHS Chief Health Officer Dr. Christopher Pezzullo, as many as 93 percent of cervical cancers could be prevented by screening and HPV vaccination.
“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” said Dr. Pezzullo.
Before the development of the Pap test, cervical cancer was one of the most common causes of cancer death for American women. The Pap test is an available, accepted and cost-effective screening test that can detect cervical cell changes before they become cancerous.
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 resources for free cancer screening services and follow-up testing if screening results are abnormal for those who meet program guidelines. Those interested in learning more 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