In recognition of Cervical Health Awareness Month, Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center (PSJMC) is encouraging women to begin the New Year by making an appointment for a Pap test. A crucial part of every woman’s healthcare regimen, regular Pap testing is the best method to protect against invasive cervical cancer – one of the most preventable cancers if detected early.
Cervical cancer was once one of the most common causes of cancer death for American women. But over the last 30 years, the cervical cancer death rate has gone down by more than 50%. The main reason for this change was the increased use of screening tests. Screening can find changes in the cervix before cancer develops. It can also find cervical cancer early, in its most curable stage.
“I encourage all women to start the New Year in a healthy way by scheduling a Pap test,” said Mary Fitzgibbon, M.D., OB/GYN. “The Pap test is the most effective cancer screen in medicine and can detect potential issues very early.”
Although half of the women who are diagnosed with cancer of the cervix are between the ages of 35 and 55, the disease can occur in younger women. Annual Pap tests are recommended for women ages 21 to 30. After age 30, women who test negative three years in a row can be screened every two to three years. Cervical cancer screening should continue until at least age 65.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is found in about 99 percent of cervical cancers. While there are over 100 different types of HPV, more than 70 percent of cervical cancer cases can be attributed to two types of the virus, HPV-16 and HPV-18. By age 50, approximately 80 percent of women have some type of HPV, the majority of which does not develop into cervical cancer. In June 2006, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first vaccine that was developed to prevent cervical cancer and is effective against HPV strains 16 and 18. Today, the vaccine is recommended for girls at age 11 or 12.
For more information, please visit www.presencehealth.org/psjmc-obgyn.
Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center (PSJMC) is a regional referral center recognized for overall Clinical Excellence. Recently named to the “Top Hospitals” in Chicagoland area by Chicago magazine, PSJMC serves Will and surrounding counties, including the southwest Chicago suburbs. Located in Joliet, PSJMC offers private patient rooms and world-class health care. Designated as a Primary Stroke Center, Presence Neuroscience Institute also provides 24/7 neurosurgeons, neurologists and neuroendovascular interventionalists. Recognized nationally for advanced cardiac care including a world-class open heart program, PSJMC also offers family-centered obstetrics, and a Level II Trauma Center.
About Presence Health
Created in November 2011, Presence Health is the largest Catholic health system based in Illinois. With over 150 sites of care, including 12 hospitals, Presence health has 20,000 employees, 4,000 medical professionals and a revenue base of $2.6 billion.