Letter to the Editor: Cervical Cancer Awareness Month
January is a time for resolutions. It’s also a great time for women to remember their own needs, especially after a busy holiday season with much of our time focused on others. January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month and is the perfect time for women to remember their cervical health.
Each year in the U.S. approximately 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and more than 4,000 die as a result. In both the U.S. and around the world, cervical cancer disproportionately impacts poor women.
For women 21-65 years or age, regular cervical cancer screening can help prevent cancer. The Pap test can help detect cervical cancer in its earliest stages. When detected early, cervical cancer is highly curable. As with other cancers, the later cervical cancer is detected the harder it is to treat.
Maternal and Family Health Services works to remove the barriers to women getting a Pap test and cervical exam through two programs that provide quality and affordable care to women. The Healthy Woman Program is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and provides free Pap tests, as well as mammograms, to women between the ages of 40 and 64 who are uninsured, underinsured, or have high deductibles and meet the income eligibility requirements. The MFHS Family Planning Program, funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under Title X, offers a complete range of reproductive healthcare services to women, including complete gynecological exams and cervical cancer screening. These services are provided regardless of income and a sliding-fee scale allows MFHS to tailor costs to meet individual needs. MFHS also accepts many insurances. Maternal and Family Health Services has a network of providers in 15 counties of Northeast Pennsylvania. To find the location nearest you and find out if you qualify, visit our cancer screening services page.
Cervical cancer is preventable and curable, but only with access to regular screenings. All Pennsylvania women, regardless of their economic condition, should have access to the life-saving screening tests they need to prevent cervical cancer.
Bette Cox Saxton
President & CEO