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January is Cervical Health Awareness Month

Cervical Cancer Screening May Save a Life

Cervical cancer was once one of the most common causes of cancer deaths for women in the U.S. It’s now the most preventable gynecological cancer and the only one with both screening tests and a vaccine. Encourage the women in your family to talk with their physicians about having Human Papillomavirus (HPV) or Pap tests to screen for cervical cancer.

Why is cervical cancer screening important?

Cervical cancer is a slow-growing cancer that usually starts without symptoms. It’s mainly caused by Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Regular screenings can detect cancer early, even before symptoms start. When cervical cancer is detected at an early stage, the five-year survival rate is over 90%.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening all women starting at age 21. Screening for cervical cancer is also recognized as a quality measure by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). The NCQA uses the following criteria for screenings:

  • Women ages 21 to 64 who had cervical cytology performed within the last 3 years.
  • Women ages 30 to 64 who had either:
    • Cervical high-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV) testing within the last 5 years; or
    • Cervical cytology/high-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV) co-testing within the last 5 years.

View the preventive care guidelines on cervical cancer screenings. Remember, screening for HPV can let your doctor know if you are likely to get cancer from Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Problems can be found and treated before they turn into cancer. For women ages 30 and older, the HPV test can be used along with the Pap test.

For more information on cervical health, visit here.

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