Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin Highlights Importance of Cervical Cancer Prevention, Early Detection
January is Cervical Health Awareness Month
MADISON — According to recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data, more than 12,000 people will be diagnosed with cervical cancer this year, and early detection can be lifesaving. More than half of people diagnosed each year have not had a Pap test or have not been screened routinely.
January is Cervical Health Awareness Month, and Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin (PPWI) is encouraging people to start the year off right by taking charge of their health with important preventive screenings such as Pap tests, which detect irregularities that can lead to cervical cancer.
“Cervical health is important at all stages of life. Anybody with a cervix can develop cervical cancer, so Planned Parenthood encourages anyone age 21and older to talk with their health care provider to see if they are due for a screening,” said Meg Robertson, women’s health nurse practitioner and director of clinical services at PPWI.
Cervical cancer is most often caused by certain types of the human papilloma virus (HPV), a very common sexually transmitted infection. According to the CDC, approximately 79 million persons are currently infected with HPV, and 14 million persons are newly infected each year in the United States. The HPV vaccine is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of HPV, which in turn can prevent cervical cancer.
The CDC has concluded that as many as 93 percent of cervical cancers could be prevented by screening and HPV vaccination. This is why medical organizations including the CDC, the American Cancer Society, the American Academy of Pediatrics and Planned Parenthood recommend that both girls and boys get the vaccination at age 11 or 12. The vaccine works best if given before people become sexually active, but can benefit anyone, even if they have already been infected with HPV. The vaccine is available to those aged 9-26.
“Early detection and preventive measures like the HPV vaccine save lives,” said Robertson. “At Planned Parenthood, we provide lifesaving cancer screenings, HPV vaccines and the education necessary to protect against cervical cancer and keep our patients safe, healthy and strong.”
Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin is a nonprofit health care provider caring for 60,000 patients annually at 22 health centers. 97 percent of Planned Parenthood’s care is preventive health services including well woman exams, breast and cervical cancer screenings, birth control, HIV screening, and STD treatment.