As Cervical Cancer Awareness month comes to a close, we wanted to take a moment to reflect and consider the impact of cervical cancer in Texas. Cervical cancer is the third most common cancer in Texas women and is the second leading cause of cancer death in Texas women. However, this can change. We know that with regular screenings and vaccinations, cervical cancer is actually one of the most preventable cancers. According to the American Cancer Society, when detected at an early stage, women have a 92 percent survival rate over five years!
The United States Preventive Screening Task Force recommends that all women between the ages of 21-65 are screened for Cervical Cancer every three years. Thankfully, there are resources available so that all women can receive a low cost or free cervical cancer screening. In Texas, the Breast Cancer and Cervical Cancer Services (BCCS) offers low-cost or free cervical cancer screening to uninsured and underinsured women. To learn more about the BCCS program, visit www.healthytexaswomen.org or call 2-1-1.
However, regular screenings are not the only way to combat this deadly disease. According to the CDC, the main cause of cervical cancer is the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). HPV infections are one of the most common infections in the United States and most sexually active persons will experience an HPV infection in their lifetime. Since its introduction in 2006, the HPV vaccine has been a critical tool in preventing cervical cancer. According to DSHS, the HPV vaccine protects against nine strains of HPV, including the seven strains that cause 80% of all cervical cancers. It is recommended that all youth (up to age 26) get the HPV vaccine. To learn more about the HPV vaccine in Texas, please visit:
It is critical that we work together to expand access to lifesaving health care and screenings to stop cervical cancer in our state.