Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

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Hey there Chicas! The new year is among us and with that said, January is cervical cancer awareness month.
To make this month count, let's learn about cervical cancer and make sure you are taking the right steps towards a healthier lifestyle.

According to National Cervical Cancer Coalition (NCCC), nearly 13,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, but the disease is virtually preventable with vaccination and appropiate screening (Pap and HPV tests). Cervical cancer is almost always caused by HPV and  it's very common in the United States because it gets passed from one person to another during sex. The other important point is that nearly all sexually active men and women get it at some point their lives. So start being smart about your sexual encounters.

Okay, Chicas, there are two test that can help prevent cancer or find it early:

1. The Pap Test looks for precancerous, this test gives the Nurse Practioner or Gynecologist the opportunity to look and feel if there are any abnormal changes within the cervix that might become cervical cancer if they are not treated properly.

2. The HPV Test looks for the virus that can cause all the changes.

The pap test is recommended for women between the ages of 21 and 65 and it can be done at your doctor's office or clinic when you schedule your next well women exam. Ladies, keep in mind if your sexually active or not, women should get there first pap at the age of 21.  Also for women who had hysterectomy, then you no longer need a pap test (yeah!).

Now lets get into what pap results mean and recommended follow ups.

  • If your pap test are normal, then your doctor will recommend your next follow up in  3 years
  • If you have a abnormal pap the doctor may recommend a follow up in a year and/or recommend a colposcopy. 
  • A colposcopy exam can only be performed by gynecologist and it can be performed as 30 minute procedure appointment in the doctor office or clinic. 
Both test Pap and HPV can be performed by your doctor at the same time and if the test results are normal then your risk of getting cervical cancer in the next few years is very low and the doctor can recommend to wait as long as 5 years before your next screening.

After learning a bit about pap test, let's talk a bit about HPV vaccine. If you don't know by now the HPV vaccine protects women against the types of HPV that most often can cause cervical, vaginal and vulvar cancers. Most women with HPV will never develop symptoms or health problems, but sometimes infection can last longer putting you at higher risk for certain cancers. To learn more about HPV click the following link: STDFact-HPV-vaccine-young-women.

Okay, chicas, now that I have you thinking about your Vajayjay, don't forget to schedule your next appointment. Now if you don't have insurance, don't stress, you may be able to get free or low-cost pap test through the Every Women Counts Program that is funded by CDC National Breast and Cervical Early Detection program.  Remember, you can ask your local clinic if they assist with enrolling women to EWC program. 


To find out if you qualify, see eligibility criteria below:
*You are between 21 and 64 years of age for cervical cancer screening
*You have no insurance, or your insurance does not cover screening exams.
*Your yearly income is at or below 250% federal poverty level. 




Xoxo,
Lilia 


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