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FOR RELEASE: December 27, 2001
CONTACT: Dick Gunn
405/271-5601

Health Officials Encourage Early Screening for Cervical Cancer during January’s National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

Each year at least 250 Oklahoma women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 60 to 70 women die from cervical cancer. Oklahoma is ranked 10th in the nation for cervical cancer deaths, according to health officials at the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. Health care providers are encouraging all Oklahoma women to protect themselves by making routine cancer screening a part of their personal health care plan.

“We must do more to prevent death from cervical cancer. Although all women are at risk for getting cervical cancer, it is largely preventable and treatable if detected early,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Leslie Beitsch.

An annual Pap test and a pelvic exam is recommended for all women over the age of 18 and all sexually active women of any age. The Pap test can detect early changes in the cervix. Treatment at this stage can prevent these changes from becoming cervical cancer.

Some women may want to take advantage of a program available through the Oklahoma State Department of Health called Take Charge! This program provides a low cost or no cost Pap test, pelvic exam and clinical breast exam for Oklahoma women 35 to 64 years of age and mammograms for women 50 to 64 years of age who meet program guidelines.

For more information about early detection and prevention of cervical cancer, contact your health care provider, local county health department or call the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER.

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