Cervical Health Awareness Month
January is Cervical Health Awareness Month, and Tulsa Health Department wants you to know that there’s a lot you can do to prevent cervical cancer. Each year, more than 11,000 women in the United States get cervical cancer.
HPV (human papillomavirus) is a very common infection that spreads through sexual activity, and it causes almost all cases of cervical cancer. About 79 million Americans currently have HPV, but many people with HPV don’t know they are infected.
The good news?
The HPV vaccine (shot) can prevent HPV.
Cervical cancer can often be prevented with regular screening tests and follow-up care.
In honor of National Cervical Health Awareness Month, THD encourages:
Women to start getting regular cervical cancer screenings at age 21
Parents to make sure pre-teens get the HPV vaccine at age 11 or 12
Teens and young adults also need to get the HPV vaccine if they didn’t get it as pre-teens. Women up to age 26 and men up to age 21 can still get the vaccine.
Thanks to the health care reform law, you and your family members may be able to get these services at no cost to you. Check with your insurance company to learn more.
Taking small steps can help keep you safe and healthy.
Get Screened for Cervical Cancer
The Basics: Overview
Getting screened for cervical cancer means getting tested before you have any symptoms. Screening tests for cervical cancer include:
Pap tests, also called Pap smears
HPV (human papillomavirus) tests
These tests can help find cervical cells that are infected with HPV or other abnormal cells before they turn into cervical cancer.
Most cervical cancers can be prevented by regular screenings – and the right follow-up treatment when needed.
How often should I get screened (tested)?
How often you need to get screened depends on how old you are and which screening tests you get.
If you are age 21 to 29, get screened with a Pap test every 3 years.
If you are age 30 to 65, you have 3 options:
Get screened every 3 years with a Pap test
Get screened every 5 years with an HPV test..
Get screened every 5 years with both a Pap test and an HPV test.
Talk with your doctor about which option is right for you. Some women may also need to get screened more often. For example, your doctor may recommend that you get screened more often if you’ve had abnormal test results in the past.
If you are age 66 or older, ask your doctor if you need to continue getting screened for cervical cancer.
To find a THD screening location nearest you, visit Adult Health.
Get Your Child the HPV Vaccine
The Basics: Overview
All pre-teens need to get the HPV vaccine series when they are age 11 or 12.
What is HPV?
HPV (human papillomavirus) is a very common infection that can cause cancer. Almost 80 million people in the United States have HPV. That’s about 1 out of 4 Americans.
HPV infections can cause:
Cancer inside the vagina (vaginal cancer) or around the opening of the vagina (vulvar cancer)
Cancer of the penis
Cancer of the anus (anal cancer)
Cancer of the back of the throat (oropharynx cancer)
Warts in the genital area
The good news is that the HPV vaccine can prevent many of these health problems.
To find a THD immunization clinic location nearest you, visit Child Immunizations.