Santa Claus isn’t the only one who needs to check his list twice. Here at AltaMed, we’d like the women in our community to take a second look at their New Year’s resolutions and make sure that cervical cancer prevention is at the top. With a simple screening and/or vaccination, this deadly cancer is almost always avoidable and curable – talk about a no-brainer way to commit to your health for 2018.
While the death rate for cervical cancer has gone down by more than 50 percent over the past 30 years, 13,000 women are still diagnosed annually, resulting in approximately 4,000 deaths. The good news is that an easy test and an even easier vaccination provide two smart ways to help you take charge of this New Year’s resolution.
The screening, known as a Pap smear, is essential not only for early detection, but also because looking for abnormal cells can identify changes in the cervix before cancer even develops. Pap smears are recommended every three years starting at age 21, but for women of average risk over 30, pap smears may be alternatively done in conjunction with HPV testing every five years.
In fact, HPV is the number one cause of cervical cancer. Nearly 79 million people in the United States have it, with 14 million newly contracting it each year. In addition to regular pap smears, it’s of vital importance that both boys and girls get vaccinated beginning at age 11. Providing this vaccination at an early age, before they are sexually active, can save their lives, as it protects against the types of HPV that cause 90 percent of cervical cancers. The vaccine is available for our patients up to age 26, so don’t hesitate to call us today for more information and to schedule an appointment.
For 2018, AltaMed is more committed than ever to providing Quality Care Without Exception, but we can’t do it without your help. Join forces with us to continue decreasing the number of women diagnosed with cervical cancer.