Michigan Recognizes January As National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

Contact: T.J. Bucholz (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

January 17, 2006

To bring attention to the seriousness of cervical cancer, the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) is recognizing January as Cervical Cancer Awareness Month.

In 2003 alone, 104 women in Michigan died from cervical cancer.

“Regular pap testing is key to preventing deaths from cervical cancer,” said Janet Olszewski, MDCH Director. “It is important that women receive regular pap tests because cervical cancer often has no symptoms.”

Most cervical cancers are slow-growing and develop over a long period of time. During this time, abnormal cervical tissue can be detected easily by a pap test and then removed by a health care provider before the abnormal tissue develops into cancer.

The Michigan Cancer Consortium recommends a yearly pap test and speculum exam for women beginning at age 21 or three years after the onset of sexual activity, whichever occurs first. Early detection and treatment of cervical abnormalities improves the chances that the treatment will be successful.

Women under age 40 may obtain pap testing through their health care provider, at Family Planning clinics available through local health departments, or at Planned Parenthood of Michigan affiliates located around the state.

Women ages 40 to 64 who are uninsured or underinsured and whose incomes are at or below 250 percent of the federal poverty level, may be eligible to obtain free pap tests through the Michigan Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program (BCCCP). Women diagnosed with cervical cancer or pre-cancerous conditions through the BCCCP may apply for Medicaid to pay for their needed treatment.

Since the BCCCP began in 1991, nearly 2,000 women have been diagnosed with cervical cancer. For more information on the BCCCP and to locate the nearest BCCCP screening site, please call 1-800-922-6266 or visit www.michigancancer.org/bcccp.