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Home News With Cervical Cancer, Prevention is Easier than Treatment
David Morgan
575-528-5197 Office
575-649-0754 Mobile

With Cervical Cancer, Prevention is Easier than Treatment

If there were a vaccine to prevent a cancer that kills 4,000 women in the United States each year, would you get it for your children? What about a test you could take to assure early detection of cancer, would you take it for yourself?

More and more parents are vaccinating their children against HPV, but not every woman is receiving her regularly scheduled Pap test.

HPV is short for human papillomavirus, a common virus spread through sexual contact. Each year in the United States there are about 17,000 women and 9,000 men affected by HPV-related cancers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) is raising awareness of the subject this January as it marks National Cervical Health Awareness Month. Approximately 78 New Mexico women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year, and about 23 die from the disease.

The CDC reports 70 percent of all cervical cancers are caused by HPV – and 93 percent of all cervical cancers can be prevented with regular screening.

The most recent data available show the number of teenagers in our state getting vaccinated against HPV is above the national average. The NMDOH recommends boys and girls receive the vaccination at age 11 or 12. The vaccine is given in a series of three shots over six months.

The HPV vaccine is also recommended for adult women up to age 26 and men up to age 21. It’s available from public health offices and local physicians and pharmacies statewide.

Beyond getting our children vaccinated against HPV, one of the important things New Mexico women can do for themselves is get their regularly scheduled Pap test.

The Pap test looks for precancerous cell changes on the cervix that might become cervical cancer if not treated appropriately. Since cervical cancer often does not have any symptoms, it is extremely important for women to have a Pap test regularly to prevent cervical cancer.

The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends women begin cervical cancer screening at age 21, and then again every three years after that. Women ages 30-65 who wish to extend the time between screenings may be screened every 5 years with a combination of a Pap test and HPV test.

The Affordable Care Act is reducing financial barriers to screening by increasing access to insurance coverage for clinical preventive services. Cervical cancer screening is also now provided with no cost-sharing for women covered by most private insurance plans and for newly eligible beneficiaries of Medicaid expansion as well as by Medicare.

In addition, the New Mexico Department of Health’s Breast and Cervical Cancer (BCC) can cover the costs of diagnostic testing required from abnormal screening results for women who are underinsured and for whom follow-up diagnostic testing costs might be a barrier to accessing the care they need.

Women may call the BCC Program’s bilingual hotline at 1-833-525-1811 to find out if they’re eligible, and to find the nearest BCC medical providers in their city or area.

Media Contact

We would be happy to provide additional information about this press release. Simply contact David Morgan at 575-528-5197 (Office) or 575-649-0754 (Mobile) with your questions.

Versión en Español

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Con el Cáncer Cervical la Prevención es Más Fácil que el Tratamiento