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January is Cervical Health Awareness Month

Editor:

Take some time this January to observe Cervical Health Awareness Month, by scheduling an annual gynecologic exam with your health care provider.

“This is an excellent time for women to learn their risk and get screened for cervical cancer,” said Madelyn Thornton of Cancer Services Program of Allegany and Cattaraugus counties.

With regular screening and follow-up care, cervical cancer is avoidable, and if caught early, curable.

Cervical cancer is almost always caused by persistent infection with the human papillomavirus. There usually aren’t any symptoms of cervical cancer in its earliest, most treatable stage. That’s why having a regular Pap test is the key to prevention. In the United States, the Pap test has reduced cervical cancer rates by more than 70 percent.

“All women are at risk for cervical cancer,” said Thornton. “It is especially important for women who have not had a Pap test within the past five years to get screened, because six out of 10 cervical cancers occur in women who have never received a Pap test or have not had one in the past five years.”

It also is important to continue getting a Pap test, even if you think you are too old to have a child, or are not having sex any more.

Talk with your health care provider to schedule your pelvic exam and Pap test today. If you are uninsured or underinsured, there is a program in this community that provides access to free cervical cancer screening. Call 1-855-442-2262 to find a cancer screening program near you.

For more information about cervical cancer screening, contact your Cancer Services Program of Allegany and Cattaraugus counties at 585-593-4839.

Nichole Meehan
Outreach Coordinator
Cancer Services Program of Allegany and Cattaraugus counties
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