January is Cervical Health Awareness Month

Cervical cancer affects approximately 13,000 women in the United States each year. Half of those diagnosed are between 35 and 55 years of age, but all women are at risk for cervical cancer.

Through early detection and treatment, cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers today. That’s why it’s important for women between age 21 and 65 years to get a Pap test. This test is one of the most reliable and effective cancer screening tests available. How often you need a Pap test depends on your individual situation.

Prevention of cervical cancer begins early. The human papillomavirus (HPV) is the main cause of cervical cancer, but the HPV vaccine works to prevent it and other HPV-related diseases in women and men. The vaccine is a three-dose series that is best given before sexual activity begins. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that all boys and girls ages 11 or 12 receive the vaccination, but it may be given as young as age 9. Females ages 13-26 and males 13-21 should get the HPV vaccine if they did not receive the complete three dose series when they were younger.

Talk to your doctor about the HPV vaccine, Pap tests, and what’s best for you and your family. For more information on cervical cancer, visi: bcbswny.com/healthandwellness