Are you on good terms with your cervix?
It’s a question that gets your attention, isn’t it?
January is Cervical Health Awareness Month, and healthcare providers are hoping to get women and their medical providers comfortable talking about the health and wellness of that particular part of the female anatomy.
According to the American Sexual Health Association, 13,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the United States every year, and more than 4,000 die as a result, with most often found in women living in poverty and who lack access to health care.
ASHA President Lynn Barclay says providing access to medical care is only part of the job, though. “It’s important that patients and providers both feel comfortable talking about sexual health, including cervical cancer prevention. These conversations are often rushed through or avoided altogether.”
At Beloit Area Community Health Center, our providers–like Advanced Practice Nurse Practitioner Laura Anderson–are ready to have those conversations with area women.
“In addition to regular screening, one way to help prevent cervical cancer is the HPV vaccine,” Anderson says. The HPV vaccine is given to both boys and girls starting at age 11 up to age 26. “The vaccine helps prevent transmission of the five high risk strains of HPV that have been shown to contribute to cervical, genital and oral cancers.”
Additionally, screening for cervical cancer is done with a pap smear and starts at age 21, with the frequency of follow-up tests varying, but typically they’re done every three years until the age of 29, and every five years after the age of 30 if completed with an HPV co-test.
Schedule an appointment with APNP Laura Anderson (or your provider) to discuss this and other women’s health needs by calling (608) 361-0311.