Human Papillomavirus, or HPV, is the greatest risk factor for cervical cancer. HPV can also cause cancers of the vulva, vagina, anus and oropharynx (part of the throat), and it is the most common sexually transmitted infection. Nearly 80 percent of all women — and men — in the United States carry this cancer-causing virus, but most do not even know they have it.
The American Cancer Society recommends routine HPV vaccination for girls and boys starting at ages 11 or 12.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends two doses of HPV vaccine for all adolescents at age 11 or 12 years. A 3-dose schedule is recommended for those who get the first dose on or after their 15th birthday.
A pap smear is another effective method for preventing and detecting cancer of the cervix. This simple, painless test can alert your doctor to abnormal cells that can be treated before they actually turn into cancer.
Screening for Life and the Health Care Connection Screening for Life provides payment for cancer screening tests recommended by your doctor if you meet age, income and insurance guidelines. This program is a cooperative effort of the Delaware Division of Public Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The Health Care Connection simplifies the eligibility screening process to help uninsured Delawareans access primary care and medical specialists, disease prevention services — such as cancer screenings — and helps ensure access to prescription programs, laboratory and radiology services.
To learn more, call 302-623-4661 or visit Screening For Life or the Health Care Connection & Voluntary Initiative Program.