Women need to make mammograms, Pap tests a priority

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The Texas AgriLife Extension Service Clay County and the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas are working together to inform Texas women about breast cancer and cervical cancer prevention by providing The Friend to Friend: Staying Well Together program. This program will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Holman Center in Henrietta on June 7.

The program’s purpose is to encourage women to get regular mammograms and Pap tests for the early detection of breast and cervical cancer, when the disease is most curable. For every woman 40 and over, a mammogram is a must! For most women, a Pap test is a must, too!  This article has an educational message which is designed to encourage women to get regular mammograms and pap tests as well as address the most common myths and barriers to regular screening of both.

Mammogram key points:

  • Mammograms detect tumors smaller than does any other method – including breast self-exam and breast exam by your doctor. These lumps can be as small as two pinheads and can be seen in a mammogram two years before they can be felt.
  • The American Cancer Society’s guidelines say that all women 40 and older should have a mammogram every year and continue to do so as long as they are in good health.
  • Doctors don’t always suggest mammograms. Ask your doctor to have one if he/she does not suggest it.
  • 70-80 percent of women who get breast cancer had no family history of breast cancer.
  • Breast cancer occurs in women of all ages, but it occurs much more frequently in older women.
  • A mammogram creates a sensation of pressure.

Pap test key points:

  • All women should begin having yearly Pap testing three years after becoming sexually active, but no later than 21 years old.
  • Beginning at age 30, women who have had three normal Pap test results in a row may be screened every two to three years.
  • Women over the age of 70 who have had three or more normal Pap test results in a row and no abnormal Pap test results in the past 10 years may choose to stop having cervical cancer screenings.
  • If you are not sure whether or not you need a Pap test, ask your doctor. If you are told you do not need one, ask why.
  • Don’t put off having a pelvic exam and Pap test. Don’t let embarrassment keep you from having this important test.
  • Do not think you are too old for a Pap test. One in four cervical cancers is found in women over 65.
  • Pap tests are very reliable. If you get an annual Pap test, the chance of an abnormality being missed over five years is less than one-one hundredth of a percent.

For more information about the Friend to Friend Program please contact Sherri Halsell, Texas AgriLife Extension Service Extension Agent – Family and Consumer Sciences for Clay County at 538-5042.

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Pioneer Sentinel

The Pioneer Sentinel is an online newspaper designed to deliver the news of Clay County, Texas, in a concise and community-friendly format.

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