Governor Laura Kelly proclaims January as Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. Through a partnership with Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), Kansans are urged to get pap tests for cervical cancer to reduce long-term cancer risks. Free or low-cost screening test through the KDHE Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program is available for eligible women at average risk who also do not have health insurance and meet income guidelines.
There are many things a person can do for the ones they love; and they should make screening and preventing cervical cancer one of them. On average, 100 women in Kansas are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, and half of those are diagnosed as late stage. If caught early, cervical cancers are treatable.
Anne Zajic is a mother of three active little girls and a loving wife. “I remember feeling as though the room was spinning when I learned I had cervical cancer,” says Zajic. “I have been cancer free for more than five years and encourage others to get the HPV vaccine and tests regularly because cervical cancer is a very preventable illness and one that I hope my daughters won’t have to experience.”
Newly released data shows that 83.9% of women are up to date in cervical cancer screening. But screening must begin at 21 and follow the schedule recommended by a health care provider. The goal in Kansas is that 90% of women will be up to date in cervical cancer screening by 2027.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening for cervical cancer:
- Every 3 years with cervical cytology for women aged 21 to 65, or
- Every 5 years with primary HPV testing (an HPV test that is done by itself for screening) or HPV-Pap co-testing for women aged 30 to 65.
Recommended screening beginning at age 21 is the most effective way to prevent cervical cancer. For more information about cervical cancer, visit kdhe.ks.gov/816.