Letter to the Editor: Cervical Cancer
In January, we all make resolutions, many around our health. Most of us don’t keep the resolutions we make, but here is a simple resolution we can all help to keep: End cervical cancer. You can help end cervical cancer in two simple steps: 1) If you are a woman, get screened regularly for cervical cancer; 2) If you have children, vaccinate them against the human papillomavirus (HPV).
We have the resources to prevent and end cervical cancer so that no woman dies of this disease. In 2018, an estimated 220 Maryland women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer and about 70 Maryland women will die from the disease. This year, everyone in Garrett County can help end cervical cancer. Starting at age 21, women should get screened regularly with a Pap test and at age 30, women can begin to get regular HPV tests. Along with the other vaccinations recommended for 11 and 12-year-old boys and girls, parents should ensure that their children receive the HPV vaccine, which can prevent many HPV-associated cancers, including cervical cancer.
There are many options for paying for Pap tests and the HPV vaccine. In most cases, health insurance covers these services. Low-income women 40 to 64 years old who do not have health insurance, or who have out-of-pocket costs, may be eligible for cervical cancer screening at no cost to them. Call the Garrett County Breast & Cervical Program at 301-334-7770 or 301-895-3111 to discuss the eligibility requirements. For assistance with vaccines, contact the Health Department at 301-334-7770 or 301-895-3111, or call 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636) for information about the Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program. This year, help Garrett County end cervical cancer.
Caroline Evans, RN