January is the first chapter of the new year and is often considered cold and dreary. However, it is also an incredibly important month. The start of the year is cervical cancer awareness month. The Summers County Health Department is helping residents get early screenings.
According to a study posted by the Prevent Cancer Foundation, 42 percent of women between the ages of 40 and 60 do not know how often they need to be screened for cervical cancer. Additionally, 24 percent of women in the same age range report it being more than three years “since their last appointment with their OB-GYN or primary care provider.”
The Summers County Health Department participates in the West Virginia Family Planning Program and the West Virginia Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program. They offer pap smears and HPV Human papillomavirus) vaccinations.
Based on information from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), HPV is “the most common STI (sexually transmitted infection).” Some types of this infection can cause additional health problems, including cervical cancer.
The West Virginia Breast and Cervical Screening Program provides screening services to uninsured and underinsured women. Participating in regular screenings leads to early detection, which in turn reduces death rates and improves treatment options. The Summers County Health Department provides screenings for patients with no insurance or high deductibles. They are also able to accept most insurance.
According to health.gov, individuals assigned female at birth should get screened with a Pap test every three years. In addition, HPV screening should take place every five years. The CDC recommends screening with Pap tests begin at age 21. Individuals between 30 and 60 years of age may choose only Pap tests, only HPV tests or a combination. It is vital to speak with a physician to determine which option is optimal.
To schedule a Pap smear or HPV vaccine, call 304-466-3388 and choose option two.