I am so thankful to have my mother in my life and be able to learn from her. She has always made sure and encouraged us to get our regular check-ups because she stresses that regular Pap smears are one method for early detection of precancerous cells that could manifest into cervical cancer.
And we both now know that lack of insurance, access, and education, especially for migrant workers who have it more difficult to develop a regular source of care with one doctor or health center is the case for many (especially when these places are not safe from ICE AND police violence).
People should not be at risk of dying when there are preventable measures. The best way to prevent developing cervical cancer is to obtain regular Pap smears – ideally, once a year beginning with the initiation of sexual activity. Pap smears are the most effective way to screen for the pre-cancerous cells that can lead to cervical cancer. For women over 30, there is a HPV test that can be used along with the pap smear as part of routine cervical cancer screening.
The Pap test has been leading the fight against cervical cancer for decades. Before the introduction of the screening, cervical cancer was the #1 cancer killer of individuals with a cervix. Now, it’s #14. But now proposed changes to the guidelines could eliminate the Pap, leaving thousands of people vulnerable to incomplete testing. We can’t let that happen.
For the health of all, the Pap and HPV tests should remain a part of your routine wellness screening.