It’s Cervical Cancer Awareness Month and the Cancer Services Program (CSP) North Country wants to share some important and alarming information. In New York State, Black women are more likely than white women to be diagnosed with cervical cancer and to die from the disease. Recent findings from a U.S. study show that Black women are diagnosed with late-stage cervical cancer at a higher rate than white women. Late-stage cancer is cancer that has spread to other places in the body. Cervical cancer is much harder to treat in late stages with less than 2 out of 100 women surviving past 5 years.
This is especially alarming because cervical cancer can be prevented. Here is what everyone should know:
- Cervical cancer screening may save lives. Getting screened regularly can find the cells that lead to cancer so they can be removed before cancer grows. Screening also helps find cancer early when it may be easier to treat.
- Screening begins at age 21. Women ages 21 to 65 should be screened every 3 years with a Pap test. For some, using an HPV test may lengthen the time between screenings.
- You can get screened even if you do not have health insurance. The CSP provides free screening to women ages 40 and older without health insurance who qualify. For women with insurance, most health insurers cover screening at no cost.
The good news is that, in a recent survey, nearly 70% of women 21 and older said they’d be more likely to schedule their screening after learning why it’s important to find cancer early. The CSP hopes this information motivates women due for cervical cancer screening to call their health care provider or call us at 855-592-0830 to see if you qualify for a free cervical cancer screening.
- Carolyn Handville, Program Coordinator, CSP of the North Country