January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, and Harris County Public Health (HCPH) wants you to get informed, screened, and vaccinated to better protect your cervical health.
Cervical cancer is a disease in which cancer cells arise in the cervix, which connects the uterus to the vagina. Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common cause of cervical cancer. It is mostly preventable with vaccination and curable with regular cervical cancer screenings and treatment.
“Cervical cancer is curable with regular screening,” said Dr. Ericka Brown, Local Health Authority for Harris County. “Screening is simple, accessible, and can save lives – no one should lose their life to cervical cancer.”
In 2021 the American Association of Cancer Research found that nearly 14,500 people were diagnosed with cervical cancer. It is most frequently diagnosed in women between the ages of 35 to 44 years old, however, there are a number of treatment options available. Doctors may recommend surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted drug therapy, and/or immunotherapy depending on what’s best for your treatment plan.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends HPV vaccinations for preteens aged 11 to 12 years old, but they can be given to people with a uterus as early as 9 years and as late as 26 years old. Vaccinations are the most important prevention measure we have for cervical cancer, as the CDC estimates HPV causes 91% of cervical cancers and the HPV vaccine prevents 90% of the cancer cells from ever developing.
HCPH urges all people with a uterus to get screened as needed for early detection and to work with their primary care provider for screening recommendations.
Harris County Public Health’s wellness clinics provide free consultations, screenings, and referrals to eligible Harris County residents. To see if you qualify, call 832-927-7350 for scheduling and consultation.