Goshen Center for Cancer Care has joined a national effort to highlight the importance of regular screenings for cervical cancer during Cervical Cancer Awareness Month in January.
Two tests help prevent cervical cancer or find early signs of disease when more treatment options are available. A Pap test looks for changes in cells of the cervix that can lead to cancer if left untreated. The HPV test looks for signs of the human papillomavirus, the primary cause of nearly all cervical cancers.
“Screening tests and safe, effective vaccines give us powerful tools that can prevent cervical cancer and save lives,” said Randy Christophel, Goshen Health President and Chief Executive Officer. “We encourage all women over age 21 to get tested regularly for early signs of cervical cancer.”
Guidelines for cervical cancer screenings recommend that women get their first Pap test at age 21. If it’s normal, they can get a routine test every three years until age 29.
At age 30, options are to get a Pap test every three years or an HPV test every five years until age 65. Women may choose to get both an HPV and Pap test every five years.
More than 14,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year. Studies show the HPV vaccine can decrease the chances of getting cervical cancer by 90 percent.