January is Cervical Health Awareness Month

SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb., – Cervical Cancer is preventable with vaccination and appropriate screening, yet some 12,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with cervical cancer annually and over 4,000 die of the disease.

The month of January is designated Cervical Health Awareness Month to raise awareness about how women can protect themselves from human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer. HPV is a very common infection. It is also a major cause of cervical cancer. One way it can be spread is through sexual activity.

About 79 million Americans currently have HPV. Many people with HPV don’t know they are infected.

Regional West encourages all women to get a well-women health check this year, which includes cervical cancer screening. Cervical cancer can often be prevented by regular Pap tests and follow-up care.

It is important for preteen boys and girls to get the HPV vaccine because the immune response is strongest during pre-teen years. However, the vaccine is available through age 26. About 14 million people, including teens, become infected with HPV each year.

HPV vaccine has been proven safe and effective in preventing infections by HPV strains known to cause several types of cancer including: cervical; anal; and head, neck and throat cancer; as well as other serious health issues.

For more information about cervical cancer and HPV vaccines, talk to your health care provider, or contact Regional West Community Health at 308.630.1580.

Regional West Health Services in Scottsbluff, Neb., is the parent company of Regional West Medical Center, a 188-bed regional referral center and one of three Level II Trauma Centers in the state. As the region’s only tertiary referral medical center, Regional West offers care that spans more than 32 medical specialties provided by over 28 physician clinics. With nearly 300 providers, and over 2,000 employees, Regional West provides comprehensive and innovative health care services for the people of western Nebraska and the neighboring states of Colorado, South Dakota, and Wyoming.