This may be a surprise to some, but I actually got my very first Pap test when I was 28 and my mama actually didn’t get her first screening until even later. As a first generation Hmong American of immigrant parents, I didn’t grow up with insurance. Correction! I didn’t grow up with an understanding of preventative healthcare services. I also didn’t understand that a Pap test was so important for women. To my surprise I learned that without the proper screening to detect abnormalities and cancerous cells on the cervix, women can actually die from cervical cancer. As a matter of fact, cervical cancer used to be the #1 cancer-related killer of women, but now, it’s #15! I couldn’t imagine what would have happened if my mama and I never would have taken the preventative steps and we found out too late. Unfortunately, many women fall behind on their Pap screenings because they feel the lack of financial resources and medical coverage necessary to afford the test. The truth is: the Pap is accessible to everyone. It’s a preventative screening that every woman of color, despite their background or income level, should have access to. It is imperative that we screened regularly to protect ourselves. Let’s #protectthepap and save lives.