REED CITY — Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers that affect women.

Central Michigan District Health Department is encouraging community to members to remind mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, their family and friends that “You Can Prevent Cervical Cancer.”

According to CMDHD, 110 women in Michigan will die from cervical cancer this year. The American Cancer Society estimates 12,990 women will be diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer this year in the United States and 4,120 women will die from the disease.

Cervical cancer usually develops slowly, beginning as simple abnormal cells. If left untreated, these cells can progress into cancer. About two out of every three cervical cancers are caused by certain strains of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).

Vaccines have been shown to prevent the types of HPV that lead to cervical cancer. Currently there are two HPV vaccines, Cervarix and Gardasil, available for both boys and girls between 9 and 26. Both are available at a CMDHD branch office by making an appointment. Men also should get the vaccine because they can carry the virus and infect women; leading to cervical cancer.

The Pap test is a specific screening test for cervical cancer and is not the same as a pelvic exam, although the Pap test is done in conjunction with a pelvic exam.

A Pap test is a simple and effective exam that can find abnormal cervical cells. If abnormal cells are found, treatment can usually be done to remove these cells and stop them from turning into cervical cancer. Cervical cancer screenings are usually fast and easy. All women who 21 should have regular interval cervical cancer screenings. Following recommended Pap smear screening guidelines can reduce a woman’s risk of cervical cancer.

Men and women should use the month of January to encourage partners and loved ones to schedule a cervical cancer screening appointment and talk to their health care provider about the HPV vaccine.

CMDHD provides cervical cancer screenings to all women through its Family Planning and Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Navigation Programs. CMDHD, through the Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Navigation Program, provides free Pap tests and breast cancer screenings with mammograms to women 40-64 with limited income and little or no health insurance.

For more information on cancer screening services offered at CMDHD, contact its branch offices in Marion by calling (231) 743-9877 or Reed City by calling (231) 832-5532.