Health Department Urges Women to be Screened for Cervical Cancer
This year, an estimated 230 Maryland women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer and approximately 70 will die from the disease. The human papilloma virus, HPV, can cause certain cancers and other diseases. About 17,600 women and 9,300 men are diagnosed with a cancer caused by HPV each year nationwide. Most of these cancers can be prevented by the HPV vaccine and regular Pap tests.
“It’s so important for women to get regular Pap tests because cervical cancer often does not have any symptoms until the late stages of cancer,” explains Susan Twigg, Director of the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program at the Harford County Health Department.
For the HPV vaccine, the Harford County Health Department recommends 11 and 12-year old girls and boys be vaccinated, as well as young women ages 13 through 26 and young men ages 13 through 21 who have not been vaccinated. Harford County Health Officer, Susan Kelly, says “Vaccinating boys and girls against HPV is reducing the HPV disease and is the best way to prevent many types of cancers.”
Health insurance can cover cervical cancer screenings and HPV vaccinations. Lower income women 40 to 64 years old who do not have health insurance or who have out of pocket costs, may be eligible for a Pap test at no cost through the Harford County Breast and Cervical Cancer Program. Call the Harford County Health Department at 410-612-1780 to discuss the eligibility requirements.
For more information please visit www.cdc.gov/hpv/parents or visit the health department’s website at www.harfordcountyhealth.com