No Woman Should Die of Cervical Cancer

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. - Breathe a little easier during the day. Sleep a little better at night. Cervical cancer is no longer one of the leading causes of cancer deaths among women in the United States.

Since the advent of the Pap test in 1955, women have been fighting back. The West Virginia Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program (WVBCCSP), a program dedicated to helping low-income, uninsured or underinsured women receive free or low-cost Pap tests, is celebrating National Health Cervical Awareness Month by encouraging women to schedule their routine Pap tests during January.

Pap tests have dramatically reduced the number of deaths due to cervical cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, the number of deaths dropped 74% from 1955 to 1992. The death rate continues to drop by roughly 4% each year due to increasing use of the Pap test. The test can detect changes in the cervix before cancer develops or it can detect cancer in its earliest stages when more treatment options are available. Cervical cancer is nearly 100% curable when detected early.

In addition to routine screening, knowing and understanding risk factors can reduce your risk of developing cervical cancer. The most important risk factor associated with cervical cancer is infection with the Human Papillomavirus, or HPV, which is a group of common, sexually transmitted viruses. Other risk factors include smoking, having first intercourse at a young age, or having multiple sexual partners.

Women are encouraged to talk with their healthcare providers about Pap tests and cervical cancer. The WVBCCSP works with over 300 providers statewide to ensure Program eligible women receive the services they need. Women should visit our website at www.wvdhhr.org/bccsp  or call 800-642-8522 for more information about the Program or to find a provider in their area.  

Don’t wait. Schedule your Pap test today.

- WVU -

For more information:
Steve Bovino, HSC News Service, (304) 293-7087
sls: 01-08-07

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