Little Rock, Ark. – January is Cervical Health Awareness Month. The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) BreastCare program coordinates efforts with a statewide network of providers offering no-cost cervical and breast cancer screenings and follow-up services.
Cervical cancer is largely preventable with Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination, and routine pap tests to detect pre-cancers. Yet, in 2022, an estimated 160 Arkansas women were diagnosed with cervical cancer, and 50 women died due to cervical cancer. The state currently ranks as 16th lowest for pap tests that can detect cervical cancer and 13th lowest for HPV vaccination that can prevent cervical cancer. While the cervical cancer screening rates among women in Arkansas have improved over the years, we still have a long way to go in improving the screening rates.
Cancers diagnosed at late stages (III or IV) are generally associated with poor outcomes and higher treatment costs. Women who are diagnosed at earlier stages have a greater chance of survival. Cervical screening services are imperative for early detection and better treatment outcomes. Cervical cancer can often be found early, and sometimes even prevented, by having regular screening tests. If detected early, cervical cancer is one of the most successfully treatable cancers.
Women ages 21-64 can be screened for cervical cancer regardless of ethnicity or nationality through the ADH BreastCare program. Since its inception, the BreastCare Program has enrolled over 128,000 women for breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services. Additionally, the program provides educational information to communities about the importance of regular cervical cancer screening.
For more information about cervical cancer screening, call 1-833-693-2942 or visit www.ARBreastCare.com to see if you are eligible and to find a provider. Chances are there is a BreastCare provider near you.