IDPH observing Cervical Health Awareness Month

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SPRINGFIELD - In an effort to raise awareness of Human Papillomavirus and Cervical Cancer, as well as the importance of early detection, the Illinois Department of Public Health has announced that it will observe Cervical Health Awareness Month this January.

Officials say cervical cancer is almost always caused by infection with HPV, and that the state Health Department is encouraging women and teens to receive the HPV vaccine through a special promotion campaign.  The campaign is funded through a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

IDPH Director Nirav Shah, M.D., J.D., says cervical cancer is "highly preventable" with routine screening, and that women, adolescent girls and boys, and their parents are encouraged to ask their doctors about HPV vaccines.  Shah also says the vaccines are "highly effective at preventing certain forms of HPV."

Uninsured and underinsured women ages 35 and older are eligible to receive free cervical cancer screenings, diagnostic services, referrals, and more through the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program.  Officials say these services have identified 170 cases of cervical cancer in the past five years.

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