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    • 30 JAN 24
    Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

    Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

    January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, and the perfect time to encourage the women in your life to take control of their health. Laurie Crockett, FNP, head of Women’s Services at Artesia General Hospital, answers our most pressing questions about cervical cancer risks, screenings, and options for prevention. To learn more, or to schedule a screening, request an appointment with Laurie.

    Can you talk a bit about the significance of Cervical Cancer Awareness Month? How does it help empower women to take control of their health?
    Globally, more than 500,000 women per year are affected by cervical cancer. It is the fourth most common cancer-related cause of death among women worldwide. We expect about 14,000 women to be diagnosed each year, proving the importance of scheduling your cervical cancer screenings regularly.

    What can women do to help lower their risk of developing cervical cancer?
    We know the most common cause of cervical cancer is the human papillomavirus infection (HPV), which also causes several other cancers within the body. It is estimated that over 80% of women will be exposed to HPV at some point in their lives. Regular pap screenings have reduced the rate of invasive cervical cancer by over 50% in the last 30 years. The HPV vaccine is also an excellent tool for cervical cancer prevention for our younger patient population.

    How can Artesia General Hospital support local women looking to take action this month? What services are offered?
    Artesia General Hospital offers HPV-based cervical cancer screening with reflex testing for high-risk strains of HPV. Scheduling your well-woman exam for cervical cancer screening is an excellent way to reduce your risk. If you are unsure if it’s time for your next pap screening, we encourage you to talk with one of our providers.

    What would you tell young women about the importance of following up on their annual screenings and seeking preventive care?
    Women in general are often an underserved population within rural health care systems, with many women having gone several years without a screening. Artesia General Hospital supports increasing access to high-quality women’s health care—so that cervical cancer screenings, among other services, are easy to receive. I would encourage any woman who is unsure of her risk for cervical cancer to come in and discuss these concerns.

    What are the recommendations on who should receive PAP screenings?
    The recommendation for cervical cancer screening starts at age 21 through age 64; however, there are special patient circumstances that warrant a discussion with a healthcare provider. At Artesia General Hospital, we strive to elevate women’s health services to listen to your concerns and create a health plan to support the most positive patient outcomes.

    Can you talk more about the HPV vaccination, specifically? How many doses are required and how effective is it in reducing the risk of cervical cancer?
    We offer the HPV vaccine at Memorial Family Practice, and it is one of the most effective vaccines available today. It significantly reduces the risk of anogenital cancers and genital warts, with over 99% efficacy when given to women who have not been exposed to those specific strains of HPV. This vaccine has been approved for patients ages 9-26, with a recent expansion up to age 45. It is most effective if given early in life, prior to HPV exposure. This vaccination is administered on a three-dose schedule.

    Is there anything else you’d like to share about this important month of awareness for women?
    My most important initiative in the fight against cervical cancer is developing a therapeutic alliance for each patient, that allows them to feel empowered to ask questions and make decisions that align with their values and health goals.

    Learn more about Women’s Services at Artesia General Hospital.

    Women’s Services