Health Department urges women to schedule cervical cancer screenings

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MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. (WNCT) – During Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, the Carteret County Health Department would like to remind women about the North Carolina Breast and Cervical Control Program (BCCCP), which provides important breast and cervical health screening services to women.

Screening services through BCCCP are offered at the Health Department.

“We currently have immediate openings in BCCCP for women between the ages of 40 and 64 who are uninsured or underinsured and who meet the income guidelines,” states Kim Davis, Health Department Nursing Director. “Through this program, eligible women can receive a free Pap test, mammogram, and follow-up treatment if needed. We urge women to call the Health Department at 252-728-8550, option 2, to find out if they qualify.”

If detected early, cervical cancer is one of the most treatable cancers.

A Pap test offers the best opportunity to detect cervical cancer at an early stage when successful treatment is likely.

A Pap test is a quick, simple, and painless test that can identify abnormal cell changes in and around the cervix that can develop into cervical cancer.

Regular pap tests can find these changes before they have a chance to turn into cervical cancer.

While regular Pap tests are the best means of early detection, vaccines are also available that can help protect younger women from developing cervical cancer if given before exposure.

Gardasil 9 targets cancer-causing types of human papillomavirus (HPV), which are transmitted through sexual contact.

The HPV vaccine is given in a series of two or three shots over a six- to twelve-month period and are approved for females between the ages of 9 to 26.

The number of shots given varies depending on the age of the patient.

The protection afforded by the HPV vaccine is expected to be long-lasting; however, women should still get regular Pap tests.

For more information about Pap testing and HPV vaccine, contact the Carteret County Health Department and/or your physician.

Online information can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/cervical/, or the North Carolina BCCCP website, http://bcccp.ncdhhs.gov/cervicalcancer.htm.

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