AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention/Maine Department of Health and Human Services (Maine CDC) recognizes January as Cervical Cancer Awareness Month.
Before the development of the Pap test, cervical cancer was one of the most common causes of cancer death for American women. As an available, accepted and cost-effective screening test, the Pap test can detect cervical cancer early when treatment is most effective. If women receive regular screenings, the Pap test can detect cervical cell changes before they become cancerous. The LePage administration encourages Maine women to take preventative measures.
“From 1995 through 2010, there was a 38 percent decrease in the number of Maine women being diagnosed with cervical cancer,” said Dr. Sheila Pinette, director of the Maine CDC, in a press release. “January, the time of resolutions, may be the perfect time to schedule a Pap test, especially if you have never had one or it has been more than three years since your test.”
Starting at age 21, routine Pap tests for women can find potentially cancerous cells growing in the cervix. As the Human papillomavirus is associated with most cervical cancers, current cervical cancer screening recommendations also include HPV DNA testing along with the Pap test for women ages 30 to 65. For more information on this test, women should talk with their doctors, as screening recommendations can vary.
Help with paying for these screenings is available women age 40 and older who are in need of breast or cervical screening tests and meet certain requirements. The Maine CDC Cancer Prevention and Control programs can provide information about cancer screening tests as well as limited resources for free cancer screenings.
More details can be found at: http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/population-health/bcp/