January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month and Fulton County Health Services encourages all women to take control of their health by cervical cancer screenings known as Pap tests and to make healthier lifestyle choices. Fulton County has at least 3 locations, including Adamsville Health Center, in/near SW Atlanta to make screening easier and cheaper.
Symptoms of early stage cervical cancer or pre-cancer are not easily identified and often have no signs or symptoms. According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, it was estimated that 134 Georgia women would die from cervical cancer in Georgia in 2012.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening for cervical cancer in women ages 21 to 65 years with cytology (Pap smear) every 3 years or, for women ages 30 to 65 years who want to lengthen the screening interval, screening with a combination of cytology and human papillomavirus (HPV) testing every 5 years.
All women who have not had a hysterectomy are at risk of developing cervical cancer. Many cervical cancer risk factors are linked to lifestyle behaviors. Risks include: having multiple sexual partners; smoking or a history of smoking; early age of first sexual encounters; not using barrier methods of birth control such as condoms; and not getting regular Pap tests.
Exams and Pap tests are available at the following Women’s Health Clinics:
Adamsville Health Center, 3700 Martin Luther King Jr., Atlanta, GA 30331 (404) 613-4215
Center for Health and Rehabilitation, 265 Boulevard, NE, 3rd Floor, Atlanta, GA 30312 (404) 612-5835
College Park Regional Health Center, 1920 John Wesley Ave., Atlanta, GA 30337 (404) 765-4155
Lakewood Health Center, 1853 Jonesboro Rd., SE, Atlanta, GA 30315 (404) 624-0626
North Fulton Regional Health Center, 3155 Royal Drive, Alpharetta, GA 30022 (404) 332-1876
Cervical cancer is the 12th most common cancer diagnosed in Georgia women. Early detection through routine screening has reduced cervical cancer to less than one percent of cancer deaths in the United States. All women under the age of 26 are encouraged to get the HPV vaccine for added protection against cervical cancer. Pelvic examinations, Pap tests and the HPV vaccine are available at health centers for eligible low-income and uninsured women through the Cervical Cancer Screening Program, and Breast and Cervical Screening Program.