Planned Parenthood of Northeast Ohio Recognizes National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

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PPNEO Urges Women to Get Regular Checkups

As part of Cervical Cancer Awareness Month in January, Planned Parenthood of Northeast Ohio (PPNEO) urges local women to put preventive checkups, including cervical cancer screenings, at the top of their lists. Every year, approximately 13,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and about 4,000 American women die of the disease.

“The New Year is the perfect time to see if you’re due for a checkup,” said PPNEO CEO Tara Broderick. “Regular screenings and preventive care, including the HPV vaccine, are the keys to combating cervical cancer.”

PPNEO offers routine cervical cancer screenings and the HPV vaccine, which protects against the types of HPV that most often cause cervical cancer at its 13 health centers throughout the region. In fiscal year 2011, PPNEO provided nearly 8,600 cervical cancer screenings to women in the area and diagnosed and treated 717 women with precancerous cervical conditions.

Worldwide, cervical cancer is the third most common cancer among women and the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths among women. In the U.S., Latinas and African-American women are at higher risk for developing and dying of cervical cancer because they are less likely to have access to early screening and treatment.

“The good news is that cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers out there,” said Broderick. “When caught early, the five-year survival rate is nearly 100 percent. Planned Parenthood plays a vital role in the prevention and detection of cervical cancer for our patients, especially in this current, difficult economy.

“Cervical cancer takes many years to develop, so regular Pap tests can help detect abnormal cells early enough to prevent the disease. HPV vaccination before sexual activity begins and regular Pap tests are the best ways to protect yourself against cervical cancer,” she added.

Planned Parenthood’s guidelines call for initial screening at age 21; screening every two years for women aged 21–29; and screening every three years for women aged 30 or older who have had three consecutive normal Pap tests and no history of certain abnormalities.

PPNEO provides essential high-quality, affordable reproductive health care, family planning services and sexuality education to 72,000 women and men at 13 health centers in 21 counties throughout Northeast Ohio. PPNEO strengthens individuals, families and communities by promoting healthy and responsible decision making about parenthood, relationships and sexual health. Learn more at ppneo.org.

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Stephanie Tresso

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