Rutland - “Get informed. Get screened. Get vaccinated.” Community Health supports Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. Cervical cancer is a condition that is preventable and curable. It can be detected by annual screening known as a PAP test. Also, the HPV vaccine, administered before a child is 14 years old, prevents the virus from becoming a cancer producing infection. Cervical cancer screenings and HPV vaccinations are part of routine primary care at Community Health.
"This highlights the importance of our efforts at Community Health to improve access for our patients, as well as the importance of ensuring that they are both up to date with regular PAP and HPV screenings and immunizations.,” said Bradley Berryhill, MD, Community Health Chief Medical Director.
“Each year in the U.S. more than 14,000 women are diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer," said Dr. Berryhill. "Cervical cancer is fundamentally a disease of the unscreened; meaning cervical cancer is preventable with early detection and vaccination but still affects thousands of people annually, particularly those with limited access to healthcare."
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about 13,000 new cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed and about 4,000 women die of this cancer each year in the US. “Hispanic women have the highest rates of developing cervical cancer, and Black women have the highest rates of dying from cervical cancer,” the CDC said.
The World Health Organization’s (WHO) global strategy is focused on eliminating, yes entirely eliminating, cervical cancer. “When diagnosed, cervical cancer is one of the most successfully treatable forms of cancer, as long as it is detected early and managed effectively,” according to WHO. “We can end cervical cancer as a public health problem within a few generations,” WHO said, through its comprehensive prevention program of screening and testing.
Cervical cancer develops in the entrance to the uterus from the vagina in an area known as the cervix. Almost all cervical cancer cases (99%) are linked to infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is an extremely common virus transmitted through sexual contact. Although most infections with HPV resolve spontaneously and cause no symptoms, persistent infection can cause cervical cancer in women.
The covid pandemic has disrupted so many of our usual healthcare routines, and annual PAP test may have been skipped or forgotten. And when it comes to vaccines, it’s important to be sure that your child isn’t past the age recommended for the HPV vaccine. Remember, cervical cancer is preventable and curable.
Ask your Community Health primary care provider for more information about cervical cancer screening.
Community Health is Vermont’s largest FQHC (Federally Qualified Health Center), a network of primary care, pediatric, behavioral health, dental and pharmacy services with offices in Rutland, Brandon, Castleton, West Pawlet and Shoreham. Community Dental offices are located in Rutland and Shoreham; Community Kids Dental and Community Health Pediatrics are in Rutland; and Behavioral Health services are available at all of our locations. Community Health Express Care centers, open 7 days a week, are located at the Rutland and Castleton Community Health Centers.
All Community Health locations are open and accepting patients. For more information about career opportunities, hours and Community Health locations check our website http://www.chcrr.org.