MAYVILLE, N.Y.: — During January, Cervical Health Awareness Month, the Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services is spreading the word that cervical cancer is preventable and highly treatable if found early. Being screened for cervical cancer with a Pap test is the key to prevention and survival. Screening is available to both insured and uninsured women. Another key step in cancer prevention is HPV vaccination, which is recommended for males and females from ages 11 through 26.
The New York State Cancer Services Program provides free cervical cancer screening to uninsured women — a subpopulation of women less likely to get screened. According to the most recent New York State data, about 65% of women without insurance have had a Pap test within the past three years, compared to roughly 85% of women with health insurance.
“Cervical cancer screenings have become more accessible over the past several years because more women have obtained insurance through the Affordable Care Act, but the fact remains that there are still people who are uninsured,” said Christine Schuyler, Commissioner of Health and Human Services. “The Cancer Services Program is here to provide life-saving cancer screening to our most needy residents.”
The Cancer Services Program provides free cervical cancer screening to uninsured women, ages 40 and older, in every county. The program also provides free breast and colorectal cancer screening to eligible New York State residents.
There usually aren’t any symptoms of cervical cancer in its earliest, most treatable stage, making regular Pap tests the key to an early diagnosis.
“It is especially important for women who have never had a Pap test or those who haven’t had one within the past five years to get screened,” said Schuyler. “More than half of all cervical cancers occur in women who have never received a Pap test or who have not had one in the past five years. We encourage women not to delay their screening, and to talk to their doctor or call the Cancer Services Program.”
According to the CDC, each year about 38,793 new cases of cancer are found in parts of the body where HPV is often found. HPV causes about 30,700 of these cancers. Cervical cancer is the most common HPV-associated cancer among women, and oropharyngeal cancers (cancers of the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils) are the most common among men.
To promote education about HPV and how it relates to cancer, Someone You Love: The HPV Epidemic will be offered for free public viewings at two locations in Chautauqua County. Following the stories of five brave women who are afflicted by HPV and cervical cancer, the film also interviews some of the world’s top experts on the most common sexually transmitted infection in humans: HPV. Parents and students are encouraged to attend an event in Fredonia, to be held at 6 p.m. on January 31 at the Williams Center Multipurpose Room on the State University of New York at Fredonia campus. A second showing will be offered in Jamestown at 6 p.m. on February 8 at the Northwest Arena on 319 W. Third St. HPV vaccinations will be available during the event. Subject matter experts will also be on hand to answer questions. For more information about the events, call the Cancer Services Program at 800-506-9185 or visit Chautauqua County Cancer Services Program’s Facebook page.
To contact the Chautauqua County Cancer Services Program, call 1-800-506-9185 or visit www.health.ny.gov/diseases/cancer/services/community_resources/.
For more information about cervical cancer, visit www.health.ny.gov/diseases/cancer/cervical .
For information about insurance options, contact the New York State of Health: The Official Health Plan Marketplace at http://info.nystateofhealth.ny.gov/ or 1-855-355-5777.
For more information about the HPV vaccine, call us at 866-604-6789 or go to https://www.cdc.gov/hpv/parents/vaccine.html .
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