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La. has one of the highest rates of cervical cancer cases in US, healthcare leaders hosting informational webinar

Cervical Health Awareness Month
Cervical Health Awareness Month((Source: WTVM))
Published: Jan. 17, 2022 at 12:54 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 18, 2022 at 6:58 AM EST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, which means now is the perfect time to remind the women in your life to get their annual checkups.

“Of the 50 states in the country, we actually rank fifth as far as the highest amount of death from cervical cancer,” said Dr. Sanjay Juneja, Chief of Oncology Service at Baton Rouge General and a medical oncologist at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center.

Dr. Juneja said Louisiana has some work to do. The percentage of women who get pap smears fell in 2020 to 78%.

“I know we get a little anxious going at first to say, ‘Well, I don’t know if there’s something bad.’ I can appreciate that as I get older and I have screening stuff that I have to check,” added Dr. Juneja.

He stresses the importance of going in and getting a checkup that could spare you an incurable cancer diagnosis.

“But honestly, the comfort of knowing that I’m doing it right when I should, and the chances of me getting something scary is way less likely by me doing it at those intervals,” explained Dr. Juneja.

He’s also recommending you get vaccinated for HPV as it can greatly reduce your risk of getting cervical cancer.

This week, healthcare leaders will discuss screening and being more proactive during a Cervical Cancer Awareness Webinar.

“A lot of people will go and get their pap smears because they are going regularly to an OB/GYN while they’re having their cycles, but after 50, which is the average age of diagnosis, sometimes those visits gets less frequent because they’re post-menopausal. It’s very important to keep those visits to get those pap smears,” said Dr. Juneja.

He said 20% of women will still get the diagnosis at 65.

So, if it’s been three years, you are encouraged to make an appointment, so you have the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re cancer-free.

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