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Rural, Uninsured Women at Higher Risk for Cervical Cancer

Rural, Uninsured Women at Higher Risk for Cervical Cancer

Rural, Uninsured Women at Higher Risk for Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer isn’t the cancer of old women, just ask celebrities like Erin Andrews, Liz Lange, or Judy Blume. It’s most commonly diagnosed in women under age 50, which increases the importance of screening in these women.

Most patients don’t experience any symptoms during the earliest stages of cervical cancer when treatment is most effective. Screenings, however, can detect cancer and pre-cancerous cells early. 


Pap tests look for changes in cells that could turn into cancer later. In the past, doctors encouraged women to have a pap smear every year. In the last decade, however, recommendations have changed to every three years for women ages 21 to 65. 

Women over age 30 may elect to have an HPV screening which tests for human papillomavirus, the virus which can cause cervical cancer. If you test positive for this virus, your doctor may recommend more frequent screenings.


In 2006, the HPV vaccine was released in an effort to significantly reduce the occurrence of the virus which can lead to cervical cancer. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection. Since introducing the vaccine, rates of HPV infection have dramatically decreased. Doctors encourage both females and males ages 9-26 to receive the vaccine. 


Reducing the number of women with the HPV virus and catching cervical cancer early sounds easy enough, right? Unfortunately, the cost of testing and vaccines often means women in rural areas without insurance may slip between the cracks. These women receive the most cervical cancer diagnoses. 

Mantachie Rural Health Care offers $15 pap tests and provides the HPV vaccines for low or no cost for uninsured or underinsured patients. Staying on top of your health shouldn’t be hard or expensive. Schedule your pap test and yearly check-up today. Your health is worth the time.

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