To the Editor:
Cervical cancer affects some persons more than others in certain categories. For instance, in New York State, black women have a higher risk than white women of receiving a cervical cancer diagnosis and passing away from the illness. In comparison to heterosexual women, bisexual women have far higher rates of cervical cancer. Additionally, women living in rural areas are less likely to have screenings than women living in urban areas, which increases their risk of receiving a cervical cancer diagnosis.
Reducing these health inequities is the goal of the Hudson Valley Cancer Services Program (CSP). For those 40 years of age and older who do not have health insurance, we offer free screening. We collaborate with community-based groups and healthcare providers to identify individuals who are most at-risk for cancer and to remove obstacles that prevent them from receiving the appropriate care at the appropriate time.
Those with a cervix between the ages of 21 and 29 should undergo a Pap test every three years in order to receive the proper care at the right time for cervical cancer. People between the ages of thirty and sixty-five have the option of having a Pap test every three years, a high-risk human papillomavirus (HR HPV) test every five years, or both every five years. Tests for cervical cancer screening can identify cancer-causing cells so that they can be eliminated. This prevents cancer before it even begins! Additionally, screening aids in the early detection of cervical cancer, when treatment may be simpler.
If you do not have a health care provider or insurance, please contact the CSP at 855-277-4482. We are able to assist. Most health insurers provide screening at no cost to people who have insurance.
Sara Hodgdon, Regional Director, Hudson Valley Cancer Services Program