January is cervical health awareness month. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) is urging women this month not to forget about their cervical health.

“Cervical cancer screening rates have declined nationally during the COVID-19 pandemic. As we kick off 2022, we are encouraging Texans to turn that trend around by resolving to prioritize cervical health,” said Lindsay Rodgers, Associate Commissioner for Health and Developmental Services of the Texas HHSC.

Cervical cancer is a highly preventable and treatable cancer. It is also the third leading cancer diagnosis for women ages twenty to thirty-nine and fifth for women forty to forty-nine.

According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 14,000 new cases of cervical cancer were detected in 2021; of those cases, over 1,400 were found in Texas. Texas had the third-highest estimated number of new cases in the country for the year.

Rodgers urges women to get routinely screened for cervical cancer. Two ways to do this are the HPV test and the Pap test. Cervical cancer testing and screening should start at the age of twenty-five and be reoccur every five years until the age of sixty-five.

Women over sixty-five who have received normal results when screened for cervical cancer within the past ten years and have no history of Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia (CIN2) or more serious diagnoses within the last twenty-five years, should stop screening.

People who have had a total hysterectomy should also stop screening for cervical cancer.

The Breast and Cervical Cancer Services (BCCS) program provides low-cost and free women’s health services for uninsured or underinsured individuals. Services offered include cervical and breast cancer screenings, clinical breast examinations, mammograms, and breast biopsies. BCCS funds clinics across the state so these lifesaving screenings can be provided.

To find a BCCS doctor visit healthytexaswomen.org or call 211.