From the Harford County Health department:
January is the national observance of Cervical Health Awareness Month. The Harford County Health Department wishes to remind the community that although cervical cancer is one of the most preventable of cancers that affect women, an estimated 4,030 deaths and an estimated 12,340 new cases of cervical cancer were recorded in the United States in 2013.
Cervical cancer, which affects the cervix, is found at the lowest part of a woman’s uterus. According to the National Cancer Institute, cervical cancer is usually a slow-growing cancer almost always caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection that may not have symptoms but can be found with regular Pap tests.
Pap tests can detect pre-cancerous cells that, with treatment, can be eliminated, thereby preventing cervical cancer. Vaccines have been shown to prevent the types of HPV infection that lead to cervical cancer. Currently, there are two HPV vaccines that have been approved for use in the United States for females 10 to 25 years of age.
Harford County Health Officer Susan Kelly states, “As part of our ongoing women’s health initiatives, the health department wants to educate women and their loved ones concerning the risks of cervical cancer and HPV, as well as the importance of early detection.”
For those having difficulty affording medical care, the Harford County Breast and Cervical Cancer Program offers no-cost mammograms and Pap test screenings for eligible women who qualify. Qualifications include being a Maryland resident between the ages of 40 and 64, having limited income, and little or no health insurance. Pap tests are also available through our Women’s Wellness clinic at the Woodbridge location for women of all ages. HPV vaccines are available through the Immunization clinic, also located at the Woodbridge location.
For more information about cervical cancer or cervical cancer screening, call the Office of Cancer Prevention Services at 410-612-1780 or the Women’s Wellness clinic at 410-612-1768. For information about the HPV vaccine, call the Immunization clinic at 410-612-1774 or visit the Harford County Health Department website at www.harfordcountyhealth.com