Wednesday, during Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, U.S. Reps. Terri Sewell, D-AL, and Chuck Fleischmann, R-TN, released a bipartisan public service announcement (PSA) on the importance of cervical cancer screening.
According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 13,960 Americans are diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer each year, and of those, roughly 4,310 lose their battles. Detecting and identifying cervical cancer in the earliest stages is critical to effective prevention and treatment.
SEER data show that cervical cancer incidence has been increasing significantly among women under 50. The highest rates of stage IV cervical cancers are in Black and Hispanic women, but increasing most in white women and younger women.
Recent studies indicate a rise in overdue cervical cancer screenings. For Black women and Hispanic women, who experience higher cervical cancer mortality rates than white women, research indicates that a lack of information about cervical cancer screenings as well as challenges like transportation, childcare, and language barriers may be depressing screening rates in historically medically underserved populations.
Cervical cancer is preventable and, if caught early, can be highly treatable. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that cervical disease screening should include:
- For women 21-29 years old, a Pap test alone every 3 years.
- For women 30-65 years old, a Pap test with an HPV test (also known as co-testing) every 5 years or Pap test alone every 3 years or HPV test alone every 5 years.
The Alabama Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (ABCCEDP) provides free breast and cervical cancer screenings for eligible women. For more information about eligibility, locations, and more, call toll-free at 1-877-252-3324.
The PSA can be viewed on YouTube here.