January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. Cervical cancer used to be the leading cause of cancer death for women in the United States. However, cervical cancer screenings, or pap tests, have drastically reduced the number of women who die from cervical cancer or even get it at all. Pap tests can find abnormal cells before they ever turn into cancer.
Cervical cancer can be prevented by regular screening, yet many women in Utah aren’t getting screened. According to the American Cancer Society, the number of women in Utah who get screened for cervical cancer is one of the fewest in the United States. Many women think they can stop getting screened for cervical cancer after they’ve stopped having children, but that’s not true. Cervical cancer is most often found in women between the ages of 35-44, but the average age women are diagnosed with cervical cancer is 50.
Every woman 21 or older who has a cervix should get screened. Most health insurance plans cover cervical cancer screening. But if you don’t have health insurance, don’t worry. The Utah Department of Health has a program that provides free cervical cancer screenings for Utah women 21 and older who make a moderate income and don’t have health insurance, or have a really high deductible.
Cervical cancer is a slow growing cancer that can be caught and prevented before abnormal cells ever turn into cancer. There is no reason for anyone to ever get or die from cervical cancer. Call your doctor and schedule your screening today.
You can visit CancerUtah.org or call 1-800-717-1811 to see if you qualify for a free cervical cancer screening.