Free or Low Cost Cervical Cancer Screenings Available to Those Who Qualify
January 25, 2016
CERVICAL CANCER PREVENTION
January is Cervical Health Awareness Month and the Florida Department of Health in Pasco County encourages women to visit their health care provider to get screened for cervical cancer and learn more about preventing cervical cancer through lifestyle change and vaccination.
“This month, I encourage Florida's women to be mindful of the steps they can take to prevent and screen for cervical cancer,” said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong. “Vaccinations and regular screening remain essential choices to save lives through prevention and early detection.”
Cervical cancer, or cancer starting in the cervix, is the 10th leading cause of cancer deaths among women in Florida. Nearly all cervical cancers are caused by Human Papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a common virus that is passed from one person to another during sexual activity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cervical cancer is the easiest gynecologic cancer to prevent, with regular screening tests and follow-up.
According to the CDC, to reduce risk or prevent cervical cancer women should:
- Get the HPV vaccine if you are between ages 9 and 26;
- Women between 21 and 65 years old should see their doctor regularly for a Pap test;
- Do not smoke; and
- Limit the number of sexual partners.
Completing the three dose HPV vaccination series can help prevent multiple cancers, including cervical cancer and cancer of the mouth and throat. The department’s Immunization Section provides vaccinations for HPV through several programs.
Two screening tests can help prevent cervical cancer or find it early:
- The Pap test (or Pap smear) looks for precancers, cell changes on the cervix that might become cervical cancer if they are not treated appropriately.
- The HPV test looks for the virus that can cause these cell changes.
Talk to your medical provider about when a Pap test is most appropriate for you. Tests for specific HPV strains can support earlier diagnosis of cervical cancer.
The Florida Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program offers free or low cost breast screenings, mammograms, and Pap and pelvic exams to qualifying patients through the Florida Department of Health in Pasco County. Women ages 50 to 64 who live in Pasco County and are low income and uninsured may qualify. Call (727) 619-0369 for information.
Learn more about the HPV Vaccine at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/who/teens/vaccines/hpv.html
Learn more about the Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program at http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/cancer/breast-cancer/bccedp.html.
Learn more about the department’s Immunization Section at http://www.floridahealth.gov/programs-and-services/immunization/ or contact your local health office.
About the Florida Department of Health
The department works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.