It’s not too late to make a New Year’s resolution. Crossing Rivers Health is joining the National Cervical Cancer Coalition (NCCC) in urging every woman to talk with their healthcare provider about cervical health this year.
Each year in the U.S., nearly 13,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and more than 4,000 die as a result.
“It is recommended that cervical cancer screening begin at age 21,” shared Sue McMillan, Nurse Practitioner at Crossing Rivers Health Clinic in Prairie du Chien. “Cervical cancer screening is easy to do and is affordable. If detected, it is generally treatable especially when detected early.
Below are four things to know about cervical cancer, pap tests and the human papilloma virus (HPV), according to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- All women are at risk for cervical cancer. It occurs most often in women over age 30. Each year in the U.S. nearly 13,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and more than 4,000 die as a result.
- HPV is common. The human papillomavirus (HPV) is the main cause of cervical cancer. Most sexually active individuals have HPV at some point. At any time, there are approximately 79 million people in the U.S. with HPV.
- Cervical cancer is the easiest gynecologic cancer to prevent with regular screening tests and follow-up. There are two tests that can either help prevent cervical cancer or find it early: a Pap test and a HPV test. A Pap test looks for precancers and cell changes on the cervix. HPV tests find the virus and help healthcare providers know which women are at the highest risk for cervical cancer. A Pap/HPV co-test is recommended for women 30 and over.
- It can take weeks, months, or years after exposure to HPV before symptoms develop or the virus is detected. This is why it is usually impossible to determine when or from whom HPV may have been contracted.
Women are encouraged to schedule their cervical cancer screenings at the Crossing Rivers Health Clinic in Prairie du Chien or Fennimore. To learn more, visit crossingrivers.org or call 608.357.2500.