Published: 02.01.12| Updated: 02.01.12
TREXLERTOWN, PA-- Making New Year's resolutions? As part of Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, Planned Parenthood of Northeast and Mid-Penn (PPNMP) is urging area womento put preventive checkups, including cervical cancer screenings, at the top of their lists.
Every year, approximately 13,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and about 4,000 American women die of the disease.
"Planned Parenthood encourages women to start the New Year with an annual check-up," said Kim Custer, CEO of PPNMP. "Regular screenings and preventive care, including the HPV vaccine, are integral to preventing and detecting cervical cancer."
Planned Parenthood of Northeast and Mid-Penn's 9 health centers throughout 19 counties offer routine cervical cancer screenings and the HPV vaccine, which protects against the types of HPV that most often cause cervical cancer. Last year alone, PPNMP provided 4,601 cervical cancer screenings to women throughout the Lehigh Valley, Harrisburg, and Reading.
Worldwide, cervical cancer is the third most common cancer among women and the fourth leading cause of deaths among women. In the U.S., Latinas and African-American women are at higher risk for developing and dying of cervical cancer because they are less likely to have access to early screening and treatment.
"Cervical cancer is one of the most preventabe cancers out there," said Kim Custer. "When caught early the five-year survival rate is nearly 100 percent."
Cervical cancer takes many years to develop, so regular Pap tests can help detect abnormal cells early enough to prevent the disease. "HPV vaccination before sexual activity begins and regular Pap tests are the best ways to protect yourself against cervical cancer," added Custer.
Planned Parenthood's guidelines call for initial screening at age 21; screening every two years for women aged 21-29; and screening every three years for women aged 30 or older who have had three consecutive normal Pap tests and no history of certain abnormalities.
As the region's most trusted provider of women's health care, more than 34,000 patients annually depend on Planned Parenthood of Northeast and Mid-Penn for affordable health care. Planned Parenthood is the nation's leading health care provider and advocate, serving nearly three million patients annually through its health care service providers, and another 1.2 million through educational programs. One in five women has turned to Planned Parenthood at some point in her life for professional, nonjudgmentl, and confidential care.