If you are a woman between the ages of 21 and 64 you should start thinking about being screened for cervical cancer. January is Cervical Health Awareness Month, and Boise State University Health Services is here to help students, faculty and staff get up to speed with preventing and screening this disease that causes about 10,000 deaths in the US every year. The major cause of cervical cancer is a very common infection known as HPV (human papillomavirus). HPV spreads through sexual activity. About 79 million Americans currently have HPV, but many people with HPV don’t know they are infected.
The good news?
- The HPV vaccine (shot) can prevent HPV.
- Cervical cancer can be detected early with regular screening tests (called Pap tests). Early detection makes it easier to treat and cure.
In observance of National Cervical Health Awareness Month, Health Services encourages the following:
- All women should start getting periodic Pap tests starting at age 21.
- Parents should make sure pre-teens (girls AND boys) get the HPV vaccine beginning as early as age 9.
- Teens and young adults also need to get the HPV vaccine if they didn’t get it as pre-teens. Women up to age 26 and men up to age 21 can still get the vaccine.
Many insurance plans cover the HPV vaccines and Pap tests at no cost to you. Check with your insurance company to learn more, or contact the Health Services Health Insurance and Billing office at 208-426-2158, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Taking small steps can help keep you safe and healthy.
- Make an appointment with your doctor for a Pap test if you are a woman between the ages of 21-64.
- Get the HPV shot! Health Services stocks the vaccine, and no appointment is necessary.
- Boise State University Health Services is your on-campus provider of women’s health. Our providers can help get you up to date on all of your recommended screening tests, and vaccines, including Pap tests and the HPV vaccine.