Cervical cancer affects more than 11,000 women in the United States each year. Although this type of cancer is common, it can be prevented. By scheduling regular screening tests and follow-up care with your medical provider, your risk factors for developing cervical cancer can be reduced.

What causes cervical cancer?
HPV (human papillomavirus) is a very common infection that causes almost all cases of cervical cancer. HPV, which is spread through sexual activity, currently affects around 79 million Americans. 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.

It is encouraged that:

  • 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. Women up to age 26 and men up to age 21 can still get the vaccine.

Cervical cancer screening:
The screening for cervical cancer is often called a Pap test, or Pap smear, and is performed in a medical clinic. During your appointment, your provider will collect cells from the cervix and send them to a laboratory. The cells will be checked to see if they look normal.

Scenic Bluffs encourages that women begin getting regular cervical cancer screenings at age 21. Women aged 21-29 should be screened every three years and those that are 30-65 should be screened every five years. Once a woman turns 65, her medical provider may tell her she does not need to be screened anymore. If you have a higher risk for cervical cancer, your medical provider may recommend you get screened more often.

Factors that can cause a woman to be at a higher risk of cervical cancer include:
• Having given birth to 3 or more children
• Being younger than 17 at your first pregnancy
• Smoking
• Having a family history of cervical cancer

Where can I get a screening?
Women are able to get their cervical cancer screening at Scenic Bluffs. Thanks to the health care reform law, you and your family members may be able to get these services at no cost to you. Check with your insurance company to learn more. If you do not have infurance, or have an income that makes it difficult to pay for services, Scenic Bluffs offers a sliding-fee scale program, call out Healthy Neighbor Plan that may reduce your cost of care. Everyone is encouraged to apply for the Healthy Neighbor plan, whether or not you have insurance. 

For more information, or to schedule a visit with one of our providers, please call Scenic Bluffs at 608-654-5100.


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