January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, and I want to urge women to check in with their healthcare providers and talk about getting a pap test. Through routine pap tests, women can find out if they have any abnormal cervical cells. It’s very rare that there are any signs or symptoms of cervical cancer, so a pap test is the best of line of defense. When it’s found early, more than 92 percent of women survive cervical cancer.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to take the easiest route by getting a pap test. Once a woman gets screened, then she knows. It gives her peace of mind to have information. And when a woman gets screened can be just as important as what she finds out. If she does need treatment, it’s so much easier to address it when there may be the first signs of abnormal cells.
All insurance plans are now required to cover women’s preventive health services, like pap tests, without any co-pays. But it’s still important that a woman has a conversation with her healthcare provider about getting the pap test.
For women between the ages of 40 and 64 who have no or little health insurance and meet income requirements, the Women’s Wellness Connection can be an option to get a free cervical cancer screening. The process is simple. Women just call a local hotline number at 719.545.4992 or go to the Women’s Wellness Connection website to find the closest clinic to them, and she’ll be connected immediately to get a free screening.
We know that every year in our nation there are approximately 13,000 women diagnosed with cervical cancer and about 4,000 women die of the disease. We could save many lives – mothers, daughters, sisters, girlfriends – by urging them to get a pap test. It’s important to note that Latinas and African-American women are at higher risk for developing cervical cancer. This is because, in general, many are less likely to get early screening. And waiting to get screened has a big cost attached to it. Not only is it expensive to treat in the last stages, but the chances of survival decrease significantly. Getting screened early and regularly are key.