REGION – Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers that affect women.
However, in 2015, 108 Michigan women died from cervical cancer, and it is estimated that 110 Michigan women will die in 2017 from cervical cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, in 2017, over 12,000 new cases of cervical cancer have been diagnosed, and around 4,200 women will have died from the disease.
Cervical cancer usually develops slowly, beginning as simple abnormal cells. If left untreated, these cells can progress into cancer. About 2 out of every 3 cervical cancers are caused by certain strains of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Vaccines have been shown to prevent the types of HPV that lead to cervical cancer.
Currently there are two HPV vaccines, Cervarix and Gardasil, available for both boys and girls between the ages of 9 and 26. Healthcare providers recommend getting your teens vaccinated. Both vaccines are available by calling your local health department branch office and making an appointment. This vaccine is recommended for males also, because they can carry the virus and infect women; leading to cervical cancer.
The Pap test is a specific screening test for cervical cancer and is not the same as a pelvic exam, although the Pap test is done in conjunction with a pelvic exam. A Pap test is a simple and effective exam that can find abnormal cervical cells. If abnormal cells are found, treatment can usually be done to remove these cells and stop them from turning into cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer screenings are usually fast and easy. All women who have reached the age of 21 should have regular interval cervical cancer screening. Following recommended Pap smear screening guidelines can reduce a woman’s risk of cervical cancer.
Men and women should use the month of January to encourage partners and loved ones to schedule a cervical cancer screening appointment and talk to their health care provider about the HPV vaccine. Join CMDHD this month in telling mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, family and friends that “You Can Prevent Cervical Cancer”.
Central Michigan District Health Department provides cervical cancer screenings to all women through our Family Planning and Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Navigation Programs. CMDHD, through the Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Navigation Program, provides free Pap tests and breast cancer screenings with mammograms to women aged 40-64 with limited income and little or no health insurance. For more information on cancer screening services offered at CMDHD, contact your local CMDHD branch office.
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