TAYLOR COUNTY—The month of January has been designated as Cervical Health Awareness Month (CHAM) in West Virginia, and the public is encouraged to wear teal today to show support.
To help raise awareness the WV Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program (WVBCCSP) has designated Friday, January 11, as “Wear Teal Day”.
Shelly Dusic WVBCCSP Policy, Environmental Change and Community-Clinic Linkage Specialist shared that they encourage all employees and community partners to show support for CHAM by wearing teal.
“You are encouraged to send “Wear Teal Day” group pictures to [email protected],” she stated. “If you have any questions or need additional support, please contact me at 304-293-2370.”
Walk for Women Taylor County Organizer and Family Support Specialist WVDHHE Alicia Lyons shared that they are asking the community to show their support today and to donate $1 to the WVBCCSP.
“Donations can be dropped off to the Department of Health and Human Services to myself or Mary Myers or at the Family Resource Network office,” said Lyons. “If you have any questions contact Walk for Women Taylor County on Facebook and be sure to share your photos!”
According to Dusic the WVBCCSP is a program dedicated to helping low-income, uninsured, or underinsured women receive free or low-cost Pap tests. To help ensure women receive the services and screenings they need, the WVBCCSP works with providers statewide.
The organization reported that an uninsured or underinsured woman with a family of four can have a total household income of $62,748, and still be eligible for the WVBCCSP.
During the month of January, they encourage women to schedule their Pap test, or to talk with their health care provider about when it is right for them to be screened.
“It is important to remember the significant role that the Pap test has played in reducing cervical cancer deaths,” stated Dusic. “While cervical cancer was once one of the most common causes of cancer death for U.S. women, this is no longer true.”
According to a press release, over the past four decades, the cervical cancer death rate has gone down by more than 50%.
“The Pap test can detect changes in the cervix before cancer develops and it can detect cancer in its earliest stages w cervical cancer hen more treatment options are available,” she stated.
The America Cancer Society reported that in West Virginia approximately 99 women were diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer in 2018.
In addition, an estimated 37 West Virginia women lost their lives to cervical cancer in 2018.
The most important risk factor associated with cervical cancer is infection with the Human Papillomavirus, or HPV, which is a group of common viruses.
HPV usually causes no symptoms and is a common virus that can be passed from one person to another during sex.
For most women, HPV will go away on its own; however, some women will experience persistent HPV infection that over time may cause cervical cancer, the America Cancer Society reported.
Some of the other risk factors include smoking, infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), giving birth to three or more children, using birth control for a long time (five or more years.)
“Don’t hesitate, contact one of the program’s providers today to find out if you qualify and to talk about what you can do to prevent cervical cancer,” stated Dusic.
For more information, or to find a provider in the area please visit their website at www.wvdhhr.org/bccsp or call 1-800-642-8522..