Elmira, NY – The Chemung County Health Department would like to announce January is Cervical Health Awareness Month. It is a good time to remind women of the importance of getting screened for cervical cancer. Cancer Services Program (CSP) of The Southern Tier offers FREE screenings to uninsured women.
“According to the most recent New York State data (2014), about 65% of women without insurance have had a Pap test within the past three years, compared to roughly 85% of women with health insurance,” says Denise Argetsinger, Program Coordinator.
Being screened for cervical cancer with a Pap test, or a combination of a Pap test and high-risk human papilloma virus (hrHPV) test, is the key to prevention and survival. The Cancer Services Program offers these tests to uninsured women, ages 40 and older. The program also provides FREE breast and colorectal cancer screening to eligible New York State residents.
“Cervical cancer is most often found in women who have never had a Pap test or who have not had one in the past five years, so it’s especially important for these women to get screened. We encourage women not to delay their screening, and to talk to their doctor or call the Cancer Services Program at (607) 873-1500,” said Argetsinger.
Unlike many other cancers, cervical cancer can be prevented. Screening tests can help prevent cervical cancer by finding the cells that lead to cancer. Those cells can then be removed before cancer starts. In addition, most cervical cancers are caused by the human papilloma virus, or HPV. Being vaccinated against HPV can also prevent cervical cancer.
Early on, cervical cancer does not usually have symptoms, which makes regular screening the key to an early diagnosis. Screening can find cancer early, when treatment may be most effective. Some women are at higher risk for cervical cancer. Women who smoke are about twice as likely to get cervical cancer compared to non-smokers, and cervical cancer is more often found in women over the age of 30.
For more information about risk factors for cervical cancer, visit https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/cancer/cervical/.
To find a Cancer Services Program in your community, visit call 1-866-442-CANCER (2262) or visit https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/cancer/services/community_resources/.
For information about insurance options, visit the New York State of Health: The Official Health Plan Marketplace at http://info.nystateofhealth.ny.gov/ or call 1-855-355-5777.