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Health departments: 80-percent of Cervical Cancer can be preventable

Posted at 1:41 PM, Feb 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-10 14:41:51-05

The state’s health department says that 80-percent of Cervical Cancer is preventable with vaccination and screenings, and is wanting to ensure that women across the state are taking the proper steps to stay healthy.

In 2013, 341 women in Michigan were diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer, and in 2014, 107 women died from the disease.

Health departments across the state are coming together to support the HPV vaccination and Pap test, as they say they are the best forms of defense against cervical cancer.

“HPV vaccination is truly a life-saver in that it can prevent over 80 percent of all cervical cancer cases in the United States,” says Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive with the MDHHS. “The HPV vaccine is safe, effective, and produces better immunity when given at the recommended age of 11-12 years. However it can be given through age 26. Not only does it prevent cervical cancer in women, it also prevents other cancers in both women and men.”

As of January 2017 in Michigan, only 33.5-percent of females and 25.8 percent of males had received the complete HPV vaccine series.

“Far too many people die each year from cervical cancer that could have been prevented by the HPV vaccine, and that’s totally unacceptable,” says Dr. David Krhovsky, president of the Michigan State Medical Society. “The medical community needs to continue to do everything it can to make the general public aware of the risks associated with skipping vaccines and other preventative screening measures. Raising awareness is really the only effective way to combat this serious public health problem.”

The department says most vaccines for children, Medicaid and other insurance providers pay for the HPV vaccine. If a child does not have health insurance, parents can ask their clinics or health department about the Vaccines for Children (VFC program.

Some adults can also be eligible to receive HPV vaccine a local health department or federally qualified health center if they do not have insurance that does not cover any of the cost of the vaccine.

“You can help protect your child from many different cancers by making sure they get the HPV vaccine,” said Kathy Forzley, health officer with the Oakland County Health Division and president of MALPH. “Adolescents can routinely receive the HPV vaccine at the same visits where they get their meningitis and tetanus vaccines.”

The PAP test, which is a screening test to detect cervical cancer, is recommended to begin at 21 years of age. The health department states that more than half of cervical cancer deaths are seen in women who have either never had a Pap test, or have not had the testing in more than five years.

For more HPV vaccination and cervical cancer screening information, talk with your health care provider or click here. More information about other vaccines adolescents and adults can be found here.