January is Cervical Cancer Month

As we enter 2013, many people will begin the New Year by making a resolution. As friends and family make resolutions to lose weight, exercise more or quit smoking-why not try something a little bit different? This year, schedule a Pap smear, also known as a Pap test as one of your New Year’s resolutions.

There is no better time, as January is Cervical Health Awareness Month. Although cervical cancer is a preventable disease, this year more than 12,000 American women will be diagnosed and nearly 4,000 will die from an advanced form of the disease.

Regular cervical cancer screening is a crucial part of women’s health, but too often it’s overlooked. The Pap smear is one of the most reliable and effective cancer screening tests available. It looks for precancerous cell changes on the cervix that might become cervical cancer if they are not treated appropriately.

Women must remember to continue to have regular exams throughout their lives. Cervical cancer develops very slowly; half of the women who are diagnosed with cervical cancer are between 35 and 55 years of age. Almost 20 percent of women are diagnosed when they are over 65.

After your exam, it can take several weeks to receive your Pap smear results. It is important to follow up with your doctor to learn more about your test results, particularly if they are abnormal, and receive any treatment that may be needed. Most women who are diagnosed with cervical cancer have not had regular Pap smears or they have not followed up on abnormal Pap smear results.

Start the New Year right talk to your doctor today to discuss cervical cancer screening. For more information, visit Syracuse Community Health Center, Inc. at one of our 15 convenient locations or call us at 315-476-7921.