Cervical health is key



Dear editor,

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month! 

Cervical cancer prevention is an important issue for us. Custer County Public Health & Family Planning is trying to raise awareness of cervical cancer, encourage women to take advantage of the means that are now available to prevent it, and work to make sure that these methods are accessible to girls and women in Montana. 

According to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition (NCCC), cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women worldwide with 500,000 new cases and 250,000 deaths reported each year. In 2013, the NCCC estimates that the United States will have had about 12,000 new cases of invasive cervical cancer and about 4,000 women will die from cervical cancer.

Approximately 268 cases of gynecologic cancers were diagnosed each year from 2004-2008 in Montana. The majority of these, about 250 each year, have been cervical cancer, which is easily detected with a Pap screening.  Women aged 21 – 65 should get regular Pap screenings because they can effectively find cervical cancer in its earliest stages even before you notice any symptoms.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is found in about 99 percent of cervical cancers. Infection with HPV is common, and in most people the body is able to clear the infection on its own. There are now two vaccines approved for the prevention of HPV infection. Have you received your regular Pap test? Contact Custer County Public Health & Family Planning to schedule your exam and vaccination today.

If finances are a barrier, you may qualify for various resources after visiting with Jacklynn Liles, our local Montana Cancer Control Program Coordinator; as well as Megan Burton, our local Outreach & Enrollment Specialist for the Online Marketplace. Family Planning also evaluates income to see if patients qualify for our sliding fee scale and to identify those who may qualify for Plan 1st, a Medicaid waiver specific to Reproductive Health services.


Lindsay Bryan RN-BSN

Custer County Public Health & Family Planning

210 S. Winchester St, 2nd Floor of VA