Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

January 21, 2021 by Adagio Health
Are You At-Risk?
Cervical cancer is the third most common cancer in women; however, cervical cancer is a preventable disease. Most cases of cervical cancer are a result of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI), with more than 79 million Americans infected and 14 million new infections each year. Women who smoke are nearly twice as likely to get cervical cancer compared to non-smokers. Tobacco by-products have been found in the cervical mucus of women who smoke, which can cause damage to the DNA of cervical cells and may contribute to the risk of cervical cancer. Although tobacco use is decreasing worldwide, tobacco use is decreasing less rapidly in women than men.

What Can You Do NOW?
While cancer screening is important for avoiding late-stage appearance in patients of all smoking statuses, active smokers without appropriate screening have significantly higher odds of being diagnosed with an advanced breast or colorectal cancer. Patients of all smoking histories should be encouraged to receive regular mammograms and fecal occult blood test (FOBT) or endoscopy, particularly active smokers who are less likely to seek screening. Public health initiatives should continue to support smoking cessation to minimize smoking-related illnesses.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health recommends women should begin regular Pap tests at age 21. From there until age 65, pap smears should be conducted every 3 years. HPV screenings should begin at age 30 and continue to occur every 5 years until a woman is 65 years old. If a Pap test and HPV screening are performed together, testing every five years is appropriate. Once a woman turns 40, she should have a mammogram at least every 2 years until she is 74 years old. Your healthcare provider can assess your risk of breast and cervical cancer and help you decide which screening schedule is best for you.

How Can Adagio Health Help?
Adagio Health Manages the Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (BCCEDP) in 62 counties of Pennsylvania. The Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (BCCEDP) covers breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic testing including clinical breast exams, Pap tests and HPV screening, cervical diagnostic testing, screening and diagnostic mammograms, breast MRIs, breast ultrasounds, and breast biopsies. The BCCEDP is available for uninsured and underinsured women ages 21 and over. Eligibility is based on income and household size. Adagio Health also offers virtual cessation classes to aid individuals through their quitting journey from the comfort of their homes. Individuals can reach out to the Pennsylvania Free Quitline for free telephone coaching and nicotine replacement therapies at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.