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It's Cervical Cancer Awareness Month in Iowa

January 24, 2012

DES MOINES, Iowa - January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. Every year, about 13,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 4,000 of them will die from it - but in Iowa, that doesn't have to be the case.

Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancer types and, when caught early, the five-year survival rate is almost 100 percent.

At Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, Dr. Jill Meadows says now is the time for young women to get their all-important Pap tests, which are available at any Planned Parenthood clinic.

"In 2009, Planned Parenthood health centers provided nearly 1 million pap tests and almost 45,000 HPV vaccines, and cancer screening accounts for about 16 percent of our services."

She says a human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination plus regular Pap tests are the keys to protecting against cervical cancer.

"It's recommend that Pap screening start at age 21, and in the 20's should be performed every two years; and every three years in the 30's."

Meadows says Latinas have the highest cervical cancer rates - followed by African-American women, who have the highest death rates from cervical cancer.

Dick Layman, Public News Service - IA