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Cervical Health Awareness Month

By Angela Babson

January 12, 2017

Cervical Health Awareness Month 

The Florida Department of Health in Pasco County recognizes January as Cervical Health
Awareness Month, a time to educate, encourage and empower women to visit their health care provider for
information and screening for cervical cancer.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 12,000 women in the United States are
diagnosed with cervical cancer each year. In Florida, there were 914 new cases and 345 deaths from cervical
cancer in 2013 (Florida Cancer Data System). Most cervical cancer cases occur in women who have never been
screened with a Pap test or have not been screened in the past five years.

The Florida Department of Health in Pasco County is happy to announce that we will be collaborating with
Premier Community HealthCare to host the 3
rdAnnual Women’s Health Fair on Saturday January 14th, 2017 from
9am-1pm. This Free event is located at the Mike Fasano Hurricane Shelter, 11611 Denton Ave in Hudson, and
will include free Well Women Exams and limited Pap Tests.

Since the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine was introduced in 2006, CDC reports there has been a 64
percent reduction in vaccine-type HPV infections among teen girls in the United States. Studies have shown that
fewer teens are getting genital warts and cervical pre-cancers are decreasing. Nearly all cervical cancers are
caused by HPV. HPV is a common skin virus that is passed from one person to another during sexual activity.
The HPV vaccination series can help prevent multiple cancers, including cervical cancer and cancer of the head,
mouth, neck and throat.

The Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices recommends vaccinating boys and girls ages 11 to 12 years
old. The HPV vaccine may be given starting at 9 years of age and through the age of 26 for those who did not get
any or all of the shots when they were younger. HPV vaccine is available at your local Florida Department of
Health in Pasco County.

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. When found early, it is highly treatable.

According to CDC, follow these tips to reduce your risk or prevent cervical cancer:

  • Get the HPV vaccine;
  • See your doctor regularly for a Pap test if you are a woman between the ages of 21 and 65;
  • Do not smoke; and
  • Limit your number of sexual partners.

The DOH Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program is available statewide. This program provides Pap
tests and mammograms to women ages 50-64, who are uninsured and are at or below 200 percent of the federal
poverty level. For more information and to see if you qualify, please contact DOH-Pasco at 727-619-0369.