LATINO VOICES
08/28/2013 04:40 pm ET Updated Aug 29, 2013

Latinas Need To Be Screened For Cervical Cancer On A Regular Basis

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“The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ guidelines reinforce the importance of regular cervical cancer screenings for all Latinas. Latinas have the highest rate of cervical cancer among all women and continued testing is essential for our health,” said Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) in a press release.

Until now, barriers like “income, language, immigration status, and lack of insurance have prevented Latinas from accessing life-saving preventive care, like cervical cancer screenings,” explains González-Rojas, who doesn’t miss the opportunity to assure this won’t be happening again, since “thanks to important health care reforms, millions of Latinas can now access this important care.”

The NLIRH champions access to regular human papilloma virus (HPV) and cervical care screenings, given during periodic gynecological check-ups, access to reproductive health technologies, such as the HPV vaccine, as well as precise and accurate information on how to prevent HPV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

According to the NLIRH, recent research demonstrates that lesbians are less likely to undergo screening for cervical cancer than heterosexual women. However, this doesn’t mean that LGBTQ women should not follow the same care and prevention standards as any other woman.

Cervical cancer can be caused by different human papilloma viruses, and even though there is a vaccine for girls and young women, getting regular Pap tests is quite important in order to have changing cells detected and treated before they turn into cancer.

Health guidelines recommend women to get their first Pap test at 21. Women between 21 and 29 should get a detection test every 3 years, and women between 30 and 65 can get selective screening for cervical cancer every 5 years along with Pap and HPV tests, or every 3 years with a Pap test.

For more information on Pap and HPV tests, visit the National Cancer Institute’s site.

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