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North County Health Services Offers Advice for Preventing Cervical Cancer

Did you know more than 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year? In recognition of Cervical Health Awareness Month, North County Health Services Clinical Director, Mimi Mateo CNM, MSN, CDE shares some life-saving information.

Cervical cancer is a highly preventable disease because prevention screenings and vaccines are available. However, women’s health exam guidelines have recently changed and can make health care confusing (especially compounded with the new health care reform), and women may not know which exam is right for them.

Quick Cervical Cancer/Screening Facts Women May Not Know:

1.       HPV is the main cause of cervical cancer. It’s a very common disease that usually goes away on its own, but it can lead to cancer if it doesn’t.

2.       Pap tests are the only way to detect cervical cancer early. They are recommended every three years with normal results.

3.       Well-woman exams help prevent serious health problems such as cancer. They are recommended every year but do not necessarily include a Pap.

4.       According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women should have their first Pap Test at 21 years old.

5.       At 30, women have the option to also have an HPV test for results good for up to five years with normal results.

6.       All women can be at risk for the disease, but minorities such as Hispanic and Black women are more likely to develop it.

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