January is Cervical Health Awareness Month, and the Coastal Health District 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.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) 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, health departments in Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh counties encourage:
- 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. The HPV vaccine is recommended for everyone through age 26. There are additional recommendations for those over the age of 26.
For more information, check out gachd.org/hpv.
Here are some more great resources:
The Georgia Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (BCCP) provides access to breast and cervical cancer screening for women who have no insurance (or very limited insurance) and meet certain annual income guidelines. The program provides breast examinations and mammogram referrals to uninsured, low income women between the ages of 40-64 and pap smear testing and pelvic examinations to screen for cervical cancer in women 21-64 years of age.
Get more information on BCCP here.