Over the last 30 years, cervical cancer mortality rates in the United States have gone down by more than 50%. The American Cancer Society, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and many other platforms continue fighting cervical cancer with a focus on prevention. Cervical cancer screening is being emphasized to women to detect the abnormal cells that can lead to cancer growing in the cervix. The screening process is important because cervical cancer has a much better outcome when found early. There are also ways to prevent cervical cancer:
Important Prevention Precautions:
- All women should begin cervical cancer screening at age 21. Women aged 21 to 29, should have a Pap test at least every 3 years
- Females ages 9 to 26 should have the HPV vaccine, Gardasil. The HPV vaccines prevent the 2 types of HPV that cause 70% of all cervical cancers and pre-cancers, as well as many cancers of the vulva, vagina, anus, and throat.
- Beginning at age 30, the preferred way to screen is with a Pap test combined with an HPV test at least every 5 years. This should continue until age 65.
- Women ages 30-65 should have a pap test at least every 3 years.
The Allegany Department of Health Family Planning Clinic offers screenings to women under 40. The clinic will bill your insurance or you can easily apply for the clinic’s Family Planning Benefit Program for a low cost or free screening! Please call 585-268-9250 to schedule your appointment. Clinics are located in Wellsville, Alfred, & Belmont with day and evening appointments available.
Women over 40 years of age without health insurance or those needing assistance paying for a screening should call the Cancer Services Program of Allegany and Cattaraugus Counties at 1-866-442-2262 or 585-593-4839.
Go to https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/dcpc/resources/features/cervicalcancer/ for more information.