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MEMPHIS, TN — Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region (PPGMR) encourages all women to be screened for cervical cancer during January, National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month.

Every single day, approximately 30 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the United States. Cervical cancer can be successfully treated when it is discovered in its earliest stages with a test called a Pap test, sometimes called Pap “smear.” PPGMR provides Pap tests and annual exams to women. Our services are available at low-cost and are even free for those who qualify.

PPGMR also offers the vaccine that prevents the infection believed to cause most cervical cancers--human papilloma virus (HPV). At least half of all sexually active men and women get genital HPV infection at some point in their lives. Most of the time HPV has no symptoms, and many people who infect others do not even know they have the virus.

A vaccine called Gardasil, has been shown to protect against the strains of HPV that cause 70 percent of cervical cancers and 90 percent of genital warts. “This vaccine is a major breakthrough in the fight against cervical cancer because it may actually protect girls and women from the viruses that cause the cancer,” said Tarsha Elliott, RN, BSN, PPGMR’s Director of Clinic Services. “Because it is most effective before the onset of sexual activity, girls as young as 9 years old may get the vaccine.”

PPGMR offers Gardasil to women and girls aged 9 to 26. Because PPGMR participates in the federal Vaccines for Children program, it is able to offer Gardasil for only $13 per dose to qualifying individuals. Girls and women aged 9 to 18 who are enrolled in or eligible for TennCare or Medicaid or do not have health insurance may qualify for these low-cost vaccinations.

To find out more about Pap tests, Gardasil and other services offered by Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region, log on to www.ppgmr.org or call (901) 725-1717.


Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region (PPGMR), founded in 1938, is an affiliate of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. PPGMR’s mission is to ensure broad public access to reproductive and related health care through clinic services, education, advocacy and community partnerships in serving 42 counties in West Tennessee, North Mississippi and East Arkansas.


Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region


Joan Carr
Director of Community Affairs
(901) 725-3008


December 22, 2009