Wednesday, January 23, 2013
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State health department encourages cervical screenings, HPV vaccination

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[January 23, 2013]  CHICAGO -- During National Cervical Awareness Month, observed every January, the Illinois Department of Public Health is encouraging regular screening for cervical cancer and vaccination for the human papillomavirus, known as HPV, which is the leading cause of the disease.

"Because of advances in screening, as well as the HPV vaccine, cervical cancer is highly preventable. It is also very treatable if detected early," said IDPH Director LaMar Hasbrouck. "There are often no noticeable symptoms with cervical cancer, so it is important to get screened regularly. Now is also the time for teens and young women and men to talk with health care providers about the HPV vaccine, which can prevent the most common types of HPV that cause cervical cancer."

All women are at risk for cervical cancer; however, it occurs most often in women over age 30. About 12,000 women each year in the U.S. are diagnosed with cervical cancer. In Illinois, it is projected that about 580 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer this year, and an estimated 160 will die of the disease.

The primary cause of cervical cancer is HPV, which is the most common sexually transmitted disease. At least half of all sexually active people will have HPV at some point in their lives, but relatively few women will develop cervical cancer.

Cervarix and Gardasil are licensed HPV vaccines for females ages 9-26. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all 11- or 12-year-old girls get the three doses (shots) of either brand of HPV vaccine to protect against cervical cancer. CDC also recommends the vaccine for girls and women ages 13-26 who did not get any or all of the doses when they were younger.

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Gardasil is also licensed for males ages 9 through 26. CDC recommends Gardasil for all males ages 11-21.

For more information about cervical cancer screening and the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program, contact IDPH’s toll-free Women's Health-Line at 888-522-1282 or visit

[Text from Illinois Department of Public Health file received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information]

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