Spokane-area women urged to take action during Cervical Cancer Prevention Month

– The Spokane Regional Health District wants Spokane-area women to know that most cervical cancers can be prevented by vaccination against the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), which is responsible for the majority of cervical cancers. Women should also receive routine Pap test screenings which can often detect cell changes before they become cancerous, allowing for early medical intervention. About 11,000 American women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year.

"Because cervical cancer is largely preventable, we want all young women, including those who are not yet sexually active to get the HPV vaccine, and all women to have regular Pap tests," said Donna Oliver of the Spokane Regional Health District's Breast and Cervical Health Program. "Cervical cancer still kills over 3,800 American women each year. This is particularly tragic since many cases of cervical cancer could have been prevented through vaccination and Pap test screening."

The Health District offers services that address cervical health screenings and vaccinations. The Breast and Cervical Health Program helps women ages 40-64, who do not have insurance, by providing those who are eligible with free health exams (including mammograms and Pap tests) in nine Eastern Washington counties.

The Health District's clinic provides Gardasil®, a vaccine which protects against the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). The vaccine protects against the HPV organisms that are responsible for 70% of cervical cancers, 30-50% of vulvar and vaginal cancer and 90% of genital warts. The vaccine is recommended for all young women between the ages of 9-26, including those who are not yet sexually active.

Call the Health District's Public Health Clinic at (509) 324-1600 for an appointment for HPV vaccination or call (509) 324-1553 for information on the Breast and Cervical Health Program.