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This Month in Cancer Awareness

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month

Jan-Cervical Cancer MonthCervical Cancer in the United States

In 2015, 12,845 women in the United States were diagnosed with cervical cancer and 4,175 women died from it.

The most significant cause of cervical cancer is the human papillomavirus, or HPV. HPV is a very common infection that spreads through sexual activity. Nearly 80 million – about one in four – Americans currently have HPV, but many people with HPV do not know they are infected.

There are a few things you can do to prevent cervical cancer.

  • The HPV vaccine protects against the types of HPV that most often cause cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers. It is recommended for preteens (both boys and girls) aged 11 to 12 years, but can be given as early as age 9 and until age 26. The vaccine is given in a series of either two or three shots, depending on age. 
  • Cervical cancer can often be prevented with regular screening tests (called Pap tests) and follow-up care. Women should start getting regular Pap tests at age 21. A Pap test can help detect abnormal (changed) cells before they turn into cancer. Most deaths from cervical cancer can be prevented if women get regular Pap tests and follow-up care.
  • The CDC also recommends not smoking, using condoms, and limiting your number of sexual partners to reduce risk for cervical cancer.

For more information on cervical cancer including the HPV vaccine and screening tests, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/cervical/index.htm

Cervical Cancer in Texas

Compared to other states, Texas has some of the highest cervical cancer rates in the Unites States. The incidence rate of cervical cancer in Texas is 9.1 per 100,000 women. The mortality rate is 2.9 per 100,000 women.

New Cervical Cancer Rates CDC

Cervical Cancer CDC Deaths

HPV Vaccination in Texas

Texas ranks below the national average for HPV vaccination coverage. The HPV vaccine protects against the types of HPV that most often cause cervical and other cancers.  All 11 or 12 year old boys and girls should get two doses of the HPV vaccine, but young women through the age of 26 and young men through age 21 can be vaccinated. Ask you healthcare provider today if you have questions about the HPV vaccination for you or your child.

Texas Vaccines for Children

The Texas Vaccines for Children program provides low-cost vaccines, including the HPV vaccine, to eligible children from birth through 18 years of age who meet certain criteria. Read more about the program here: https://www.dshs.texas.gov/immunize/tvfc/info-for-parents.aspx


Last updated January 3, 2019