January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month!
Cervical cancer prevention is an important issue for us. Richland County Family Planning is trying to raise awareness of cervical cancer, encourage women to take advantage of the means that are now available to prevent it, and work to make sure that these methods are accessible to girls and women in Montana.
According to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition (NCCC), cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women worldwide with 500,000 new cases and 250,000 deaths reported each year. In 2013, the NCCC estimates that the United States will have had about 12,000 new cases of invasive cervical cancer and about 4,000 women will die from cervical cancer.1
Approximately 268 cases of gynecologic cancers were diagnosed each year from 2004-2008 in Montana. The majority of these, about 250 each year, have been cervical cancer, which is easily detected with a Pap screening.2 Women aged 21 – 65 should get regular Pap screenings because they can effectively find cervical cancer in its earliest stages even before you notice any symptoms.2
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is found in about 99% of cervical cancers.1 Infection with HPV is common, and in most people the body is able to clear the infection on its own. There are now two vaccines approved for the prevention of HPV infection.2 Have you received your regular Pap test? Contact Lesley Thiessen, RD at the Richland County Health Department to schedule your exam and vaccination today.
1 National Cervical Cancer Coalition, Cervical Cancer Overview. Accessed December 2013. http://www.nccc-online.org
2Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. Fast Facts: Gynecologic Cancers. Jan. 2013. Available at http://www.dphhs.mt.gov/publichealth/cancer/documents/GynecologicCancerFastFacts.pdf.