This January, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the nation’s leading women’s health care provider and advocate, is reminding women to get screened for cervical cancer. January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month.
“If you’re making a list of New Year’s resolutions, I encourage you to protect your health by putting a well woman exam that includes a cervical cancer screening at the top of the list,” said Dr. Vanessa Cullins, vice president of external medical affairs at PPFA.
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. Because they are less likely to have access to early screening and treatment, Latinas and African-American women are at higher risk for developing and dying of cervical cancer. Worldwide, cervical cancer is the third most common cancer among women and the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths among women.
“The good news is that cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers out there,” said Dr. Cullins. “When caught early, the five-year survival rate is nearly 100 percent.
“The New Year is the perfect time to see if you’re due for a checkup. Regular screenings and preventive care, including the HPV vaccine, are the best tools we have for combating cervical cancer.”
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.
In 2010, Planned Parenthood health centers provided 770,000 Pap tests and almost 34,000 HPV vaccinations. In fact, cancer screening and prevention accounted for 15 percent of Planned Parenthood services. Last year, Planned Parenthood health center Pap tests identified about 94,000 women who may be at risk of developing cervical cancer.
For more information on cervical cancer, HPV, and cancer screenings, visit www.plannedparenthood.org.
January 10, 2012
Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433
January 10, 2012