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Department of Health News

Simple Measures Save Lives


A poster for Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

Unfortunately, upwards of 12,000 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cervical cancer this year and more than 4,000 will die.  While half of the women diagnosed with the disease are between 35 and 55 years of age, the Buncombe County Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program (BCCCP) recently diagnosed a woman as young as 26 years old with cervical cancer.

By the age of 50, approximately 80% of women will have been infected with some type of Human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is found in about 99% of cervical cancers.

Thanks to BCCCP, that same 26 year old woman diagnosed with cervical cancer was able to get the help she needed. She was able to enroll in BCCCP Medicaid which covered the cost of her treatment, provided payment to her providers, and helped her recover in a supportive environment. BCCCP provides free breast and cervical cancer screenings and follow-up to eligible uninsured wo?men in North Carolina as part of Clinical Services in HHS. In addition, enrollees in North Carolina BCCCP that are diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer are eligible for Breast and Cervical Cancer Medicaid (BCCCM), which will cover all necessary treatment.

Pap smears (tests in which the provider collects cells from the cervix) start at 21 years of age. Testing for HPV could start as early as 25 years of age.? Most women who have abnormal cervical cell changes that progress to cervical cancer have never had a Pap test or have not had one in the previous three to five years.  If you are behind on your pap test or have never gotten a pap test, it’s time to get tested. It could save your life.

Amazingly, by getting your child immunized against HPV you can literally create a shield of protection that protects your child from HPV related cancers. The HPV vaccine is recommended to kids between the ages of 11 and 12, and all teenagers and adults between 13 and 26 years of age. Young people tend to get infected more frequently; in fact, about half of all new infections are diagnosed in girls and young women between 15 and 24 years of age.*

Buncombe County’s BCCCP Program screens over 1,500 people every year. If you would like to learn more about what BCCCP can do for you, call us at 250-6006.

We are happy to answer any questions about our program and connect you to the resources you need. Our HHS Immunization Clinic offers HPV immunizations as well.

Call the Immunization Clinic at (828) 250-5096 with any questions about getting immunized. A simple step can make a big difference when it comes to cervical cancer.

Please consider the simple steps of getting screened and immunized to protect yourself and those you love from HPV and cervical cancer.