January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

Posted on January 9, 2018

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month! The Somerset County Board of Freeholders and the Morris-Somerset Regional Chronic Disease Coalition and its partners are urging women of all income levels to take advantage of life-saving screenings, immunizations and tests, and to become informed about prevention and early detection options, which decrease risk for infections and cervical cancer.

The Board of Freeholders will present a proclamation at the Jan. 9 freeholders’ meeting.  The proclamation will be shared with local municipalities to adopt.

Cervical cancer can be detected with a simple pelvic exam and pap test.  A vaccine is available to prevent cancer caused by the human papillomavirus, which is the main cause of cervical cancer.

The National Immunization Partnership Network along with the RCDC are working together to improve HPV immunization coverage.  The NIPN and the Academic Pediatric Association are excited to be collaborating on a national initiative, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to improve HPV immunization rates nationwide.  Together they are reaching out to physicians to offer education, professional credits and technical assistance with immunization rates.

The public is invited to help themselves to literature about cervical cancer and HPV at either the Somerset County Administration Building, located at 20 Grove St. in Somerville, or the Somerset County Human Services Building, located at 27 Warren St. in Somerville, weekdays through the month of January, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  For additional information, visit www.cdc.gov/cancer/cervical/.

According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 8,000,000 women in the United States between the ages 21 and 65 have not been screened for cervical cancer in the past five years, despite evidence that cervical cancer screenings save lives.  More than half of the new cervical cancer cases occur in women who have never been screened or rarely have been screened for the disease. This statistic may be due to lack of awareness or lack of access to health care.

All women are at risk for cervical cancer, although it occurs most often in women over the age of 30. Each year, about 12,000 women in the United States get cervical cancer.  Cervical cancer disproportionately impacts poor women.  African-American and Hispanic women have higher rates of cervical cancer than white women.

Somerset County residents can learn if they are eligible for low-cost or reduced-cost medical care, including exam screenings, tests and the HPV vaccine by calling Zufall Health in Somerville at 908-526-2335 or by visiting www.zufallhealth.org.  Zufall provides a broad array of comprehensive medical and dental services that are based on a sliding-fee scale.  Patients pay based on income and Medicare, and most Medicaid plans are accepted. Zufall welcomes residents regardless of their ability to pay for services rendered.  It is critical for women to establish a “medical home base” and a relationship with a physician to achieve optimal health.

In Morris County, screenings and services are provided at Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at the Morristown Medical Center. Visit http://bit.ly/CGSimonCancerCtr or call 973-971-5952 or toll free at 1-800-328-3838 for information.  In addition, the Center offers an array of educational programs on cancer-risk prevention that are open to the public.

The RCDC operates under the auspices of the Somerset County Department of Health.  The RCDC is made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Department of Health’s Office of Cancer Control and Prevention.

For more information on the RCDC, to become a member or learn more about available cancer resources or screening locations, dates, times and eligibility, contact Public Health Consultant Lucille Y-Talbot at 908-203-6077 or email ytalbot@co.somerset.nj.us

Source: Somerset County Public Information