January is Cervical Health Awareness Month. It’s an important month to us at PearlPoint, as we have served many clients impacted by cervical cancer. According to the American Cancer Society more than 12,000 new cases of invasive cervical cancer were diagnosed in 2013, and about 4,030 women died of cervical cancer. However, with regular screenings, cervical cancer can be caught early and even prevented. The cervical cancer death rate dropped dramatically with increased use of the Pap test.
The Pap test or Pap smear checks for abnormal cells on the cervix. The general recommendation is a Pap test once every three years for women ages 21-65 with good screening history. Your doctor can recommend the best screening plan for you.
Pap tests are preventive healthcare, and therefore, most insurance plans cover cervical cancer screenings 100% as part of the Affordable Care Act. If you are underinsured, check with your local health department. Many state health departments offer cervical cancer screening programs to women who qualify.
For more information on cervical cancer screening recommendations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention compiled the cervical cancer screening recommendations from several respected health organizations.