Why January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

By Laurie Panzer, PA-C
The Family Health Centers

Approximately 12,000 American women are diagnosed with Cervical Cancer each year. We can decrease this amount!

The medical community has improved the way we screen for cervical cancer. We now screen for the Human Papillomavirus, which causes Cervical Cancer. Today Cervical Cancer is one of the most preventable cancers because of a simple screening test called the PAP smear, and the availability of the HPV (Human Papillomavirus Virus) vaccine.

Good news ladies: Cervical Cancer screening is easier than ever, and is not something that you must do every year.  All women should start having PAP smears at age 21. During your 20’s you will need a PAP smear every 2 years if your tests are normal. For women 30-65 years old, it is recommended to have a PAP test with HPV screening just once every 5 years.

These screening recommendations change if you have abnormal results. Women older than 65 do not need to have additional PAP smears if prior results were normal.

So every January, determine if you are due for a PAP test, and talk with your provider at The Family Health Centers if you are unsure. We wish you a safe, happy and healthy new year!

American Cancer Society: Cervical Cancer link