Noting that cervical cancer is preventable and that proper screening is key to early detection, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin is calling on women to resolve to protect their cervical health during January’s Cervical Health Awareness Month.
Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin provided 9,044 cancer screenings in 2011. Regular Pap tests are one of the most effective ways to detect cervical cancer early. Every year, approximately 12,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with cervical cancer and about 4,000 American women die of the disease. If detected early, the five-year survival rate for cervical cancer is almost 100 percent. The human papillomavirus, or HPV, can lead to cervical cancer but the highly effective vaccine will help prevent cervical cancer. Recently, a new study showed that there is a rise in cancers caused by HPV. As of Jan. 1, 2013, the HPV vaccine is available at 25 Planned Parenthood health care centers across Wisconsin.
In 2012 several health advisory groups and medical professional organizations, including the American Cancer Society, American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology, American Society for Clinical Pathology and the USPSTF reviewed years of data and published new evidence-based recommendations on how often women should be screened for cervical cancer. Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin’s updated guidelines reflect those recommendations and call for Pap screening to begin at age 21, and for most women to be screened every three years up to age 29. For women ages 30 to 64, most should have routine screenings performed every three years using Pap testing or every five years using combined Pap and HPV testing.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends HPV vaccination for girls aged 11 and 12. In order to be most effective, HPV vaccination should occur prior to the start of sexual intimacy.
As a part of the effort to raise awareness and prevent cervical cancer, Planned Parenthood is offering resources that can help women take charge of their cervical health. They include an updated web page (plannedparenthood.org) that provides a one-stop shop for what women need to know about cervical cancer, and a new info graphic that details the cervical-cancer-prevention steps that women and their daughters should take at different periods of their lives.