While Americans are living longer lives, they may not be living healthier lives. Chronic conditions like cancer can diminish the quality of life due to disability, dependence on medication, and high costs of medical care. In fact, more than half of all deaths in Mecklenburg are due to chronic conditions.
Cervical cancer used to be the leading cause of cancer death for women in the United States. However, over the past 40 years, the number of cases of and deaths from cervical cancer have significantly declined. This is largely due to the fact that we have effective screening tests (pap tests) which can detect pre-cancerous changes and early cancer, for which effective treatments exist.
In addition, the HPV vaccine is now widely available, which protects against the most common types of the Human Papilloma Virus that cause most of the new cases of cervical cancer. Receiving the HPV vaccine during early adolescence and having regular pap screening tests starting at age 21 are the most important things women can do to help prevent cervical cancer.
More information on cervical cancer screening tests, prevention and treatment is available here. Public health offers free cervical, colorectal and breast screenings to eligible clients. Find out if you are eligible here.
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