According to an April 2020 report, cervical cancer screenings dropped nationwide by 83%. This steep decline is due to the temporary shutdown of medical offices for routine care to curb the spread of COVID-19. However, regular cervical cancer screening is essential to good health and can save lives.
January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month and the Cancer Services Program (CSP) of Staten Island is taking this opportunity to educate women that cervical cancer is preventable with regular screening. Cervical cancer screening tests can find the cells that lead to cancer before it starts. These cells can then be removed. Screening also helps to find cancer early when it may be most easily treated. Cervical cancer screening is recommended for women beginning at age 21.
If you are concerned about the risk of COVID-19, talk to your health care provider about your overall health and risk for cervical cancer. Together, you can decide if getting screened is safe at this time.
If you don’t have insurance or a health care provider, our program may be able to help. The CSP can help eligible, uninsured women ages 40 and older get cervical cancer screenings. Our program also provides free breast and colon cancer screening to eligible New York state residents. Call 1-718-226-6447 today to find out if you qualify for free cancer screenings.
(Barbara O’Brien, R.N., program administrator, CSP of Staten Island.)