Cervical Cancer High Among Latinas, Study Shows

By: Ashmar Mandou

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - HealthEvery year, roughly 12,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with cervical cancer and an estimated 4,000 women die of the disease, according to Planned Parenthood. As January marks Cervical Health Awareness Month, organizations like Planned Parenthood and the Illinois Department of Public Health are encouraging women across the state to take preventive measures when comes to the disease. And unfortunately, recent studies show that Latinas in particular have the highest incidence of cervical caner in the U.S., said Carole Brite, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Illinois.

For women aged 21 to 64, routine Pap testing is fundamentally important for detecting cervical cancer at its earliest, most treatable stage, most often before cancer even develops. When caught early, the five-year survival rate is nearly 100 percent, said Brite. Cervical Cancer is part of the Human papillomavirus (HPV), a group of viruses that infect the skin. There are more than 100 different types of HPV, some that cause genital warts, while other types of HPV are linked to abnormal cell changes on the cervix, which if left undetected can lead to cervical cancer. And although this may sound scary, Planned Parenthood and the Illinois Department of Public Health offer various, low-costing services for young women to take advantage of.

For example, the Illinois Department of Public Health has a service, called Women’s Health: Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer program that offers free breast and cervical cancer screenings for all uninsured women over the age of 35. Screening includes mammograms, breast exams, pelvic exams, and pap tests. Additionally, uninsured women diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer may be eligible for free or low-cost treatment through the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. And as for Planned Parenthood, the nonprofit healthcare provider offers services in cervical and breast cancer screenings and sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment, among others. If you are interested in learning more about each respective program, call the Women’s Health Line at 888-522-1282. Or visit www.cancerscreening.illinois.gov. If you would like to learn more about Planned Parenthood of Illinois, visit www.plannedparenthood.org to find a center near you.

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