The Cancer Services Program (CSP) of Suffolk County urges women to get screened for cervical cancer. The CSP is supported with funds from the State of New York and offers screening to women ages 40 and older without insurance. New York State data show women without health insurance are less likely to get some life-saving preventive care services, like cancer screenings.
“Our program can help close the cervical cancer screening gap for women without insurance,” said Maureen O’Connor. “According to the most recent New York State data (2016), about 71% of women without insurance have had a Pap test within the past three years, compared to roughly 88% of women with health insurance.”
This screening gap puts women without insurance at higher risk for cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is most often found in women who rarely get screened or have never been screened.
Unlike many other cancers, cervical cancer can be prevented. Screening tests can help prevent cervical cancer by finding the cells that lead to cancer. Those cells can then be removed before cancer starts. Screening can also find cancer early, when treatment may be most effective. Cervical cancer does not usually have symptoms in the beginning, which makes regular screening the key to an early diagnosis.
In addition, most cervical cancers are caused by the human papilloma virus, or HPV. Being vaccinated against HPV can also prevent cervical cancer, as well as other cancers.
“Some women are at higher risk for cervical cancer. Women who smoke are about twice as likely to get cervical cancer compared to non-smokers, and cervical cancer is more often found in women over the age of 30. We encourage women not to delay their screening and to talk to their doctor or call the Cancer Services Program,” said Maureen O’Connor.
For more information about risk factors for cervical cancer, visit health.ny.gov/diseases/cancer/cervical/.
Contact the Cancer Services Program of Suffolk County at 631-548-6320.