Middlesboro ARH to Offer Free Cervical Cancer Screenings
October 21-25 Appointments Only
Middlesboro ARH Hospital is pleased to announce it will offer free cervical cancer screenings to women ages 21 and up during the week of October 21-25 at the ARH Women’s and Family Health Center, 2004 Cumberland Avenue, in downtown Middlesboro.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2016, the latest year for incidence data availability, 12,984 new cases of cervical cancer were reported and 4,188 women died of the disease in the United States. For every 100,000 women, eight new cervical cancer cases were reported and two died of cancer. Although cervical cancer used to be the leading cause of cancer death for women in the United States, in the past 40 years, the number of cases of cervical cancer and the number of deaths from cervical cancer have decreased significantly. This decline largely is the result of many women getting regular Pap tests, which can find cervical pre-cancer before it turns into cancer.
Cervical cancer almost never has noticeable symptoms until it is at advanced stages. That is why regular Pap screenings are so important. Symptoms may include heavy periods, pain during sex, vaginal discharge or unexpected bleeding from the vagina such as between periods, during sex or after menopause. “These symptoms warrant testing,” said ARH oncologist Mohamed Shanshal, MD. “However, there are many reasons other than cancer that can cause these symptoms, so it is important to check with a healthcare provider about any concerns.”
According to Shanshal, regular cervical cancer screenings save lives. “At age 21, women should have their first Pap test,” explained Shanshal. “If their test shows normal cells, then they should have their next Pap test in three years. However, if their test shows abnormal cells, their healthcare provider will recommend a follow-up.”
Along with the Pap test, women who are 30 to 65 years old are encouraged to discuss with their healthcare provider about having an HPV test, which also will be offered at the ARH Women’s and Family Health Center the week of October 21 – 25 free of charge.
While the Pap test can find abnormal cells in the cervix which may turn into cancer. The HPV test looks for the virus (human papillomavirus) that can cause these cell changes. Pap tests can find cervical cancer early, when the chance of being cured is very high. HPV infection can cause Pap tests to be abnormal. The HPV test can help tell if an abnormal Pap test could be due to high-risk HPV infection, which could mean the woman has a greater chance of developing pre-cancerous cells and needs closer monitoring. If both of your results are normal, your doctor may tell you that you can wait five years until your next screening test.
If you are older than 65, your healthcare provider may tell you that you don’t need to be screened anymore if you have had normal screening test results for several years, or if you have had your cervix removed as part of a total hysterectomy for non-cancerous conditions like fibroids.
It is important to follow up with your healthcare provider about any tests or treatment that is recommended.
To schedule a free cervical cancer screening during the week of October 21-25, call the ARH Women’s and Family Health Center at 606.248.3015. This is the only week for the free screenings. Call to schedule your screening today!