Cervical Health Month
Cervical Health Month
Raising awareness about the risks and preventability of #CervicalCancer
Cervical cancer is a leading source of death and disease among Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) women. Laotian, Samoan, and Vietnamese women have the highest cervical cancer rates in the United States, with Vietnamese women facing cervical cancer rates five times that of Caucasian women. Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers with vaccines available and early detection possible through screenings, like Pap smear tests. However, AANHPI women are also among the ethnic groups least likely to be vaccinated and screened. Many experts believe that screening and vaccination rates are low due to cultural and language barriers unique to the diverse AANHPI communities.
The RAISE Network is committed to fighting those numbers by raising the awareness of cervical health and the need for regular screening and vaccinations among AANHPI communities. We are also committed to raising the number and awareness of resources available to those communities with specific cultural and language needs.
RAISE Partner Asian American Network for Cancer Awareness, Research, and Training (AANCART) maintains a database of cultural and language-specific cancer resources on its website. Following is an excerpt from the American Cancer Society’s “Cancer Facts for Women” publication that provides general information about cervical cancer. The full document is available in English, as well as Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese.
Further down this page you also will find a short list of the type of cultural/language-specific resources that are available through AANCART’s searchable database.
These facts about cervical cancer and what you can do to prevent it are below in an excerpt from the American Cancer Society’s “Cancer Facts for Women” publication. The full document is available in English, as well as Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese.
Cervical cancer can affect any woman who is or has been sexually active. It occurs in women who have had the human papilloma virus (HPV). This virus is passed during sex. Cervical cancer is also more likely in women who smoke, have HIV or AIDS, have poor nutrition, and who do not get regular Pap tests.
What you can do
A Pap test can find changes in the cervix that can be treated before they become cancer. The Pap test is also very good at finding cervical cancer early, when it can often be cured. The American Cancer Society recommends the following:
- Cervical cancer screening (testing) should begin at age 21. Women under age 21 should not be tested.
- Women between ages 21 and 29 should have a Pap test every 3 years. There is also a test called the HPV test. HPV testing should not be used in this age group unless it’s needed after an abnormal Pap test result.
- Women between the ages of 30 and 65 should have a Pap test plus an HPV test (called “co-testing”) every 5 years. This is the preferred approach, but it’s also OK to have a Pap test alone every 3 years.
- Women over age 65 who have had regular cervical cancer testing with normal results should not be tested for cervical cancer. Once testing is stopped, it should not be started again. Women with a history of a serious cervical pre-cancer should continue to be tested for at least 20 years after that diagnosis, even if testing continues past age 65.
- A woman who has had her uterus removed (and also her cervix) for reasons not related to cervical cancer and who has no history of cervical cancer or serious pre-cancer should not be tested.
- A woman who has been vaccinated against HPV should still follow the screening recommendations for her age group.
Some women – because of their history – may need to be tested more often. They should talk to their doctor about their history.
HPV vaccine (3 doses) should be given to girls ages 9-18, preferably starting at 11-12 years of age. Women ages 19-26 may also get the vaccine, but for the greatest benefit, it should be given before girls or women become sexually active.
Additional Cervical Cancer Awareness Resources Available for Specific Cultural/Language Needs Through AANCART’s Web Tool:
This color pamphlet for Cambodian women provides basic information about Pap testing in a question and answer format.
Brochure providing an understanding of cervical cancer and taking steps to prevention of cervical cancer. Brochure provides information on pap smears and is in Samoan.
This is a Vietnamese language flip chart with multiple colored pictures about cervical cancer and Pap test screening on the front and textual speaking points on the back, to be used in small group education sessions by lay health workers. It explains about cervical cancer, risk factors and screening, and asks women to have Pap tests yearly for early detection. This project was funded by the CDC REACH 2010 Program, grant # 24050 444918 FY02.
Understanding Cervical cancer and taking steps to prevention in Tongan. Provides basic educational information.
Tailored for Hawaiian audiences, this 4 color brochure provides information on cervical cancer: what it is, risk factors, benefits of regular screening, and who should be screened. The back panel also lists names and contact numbers of the Native Hawaiian Health Care Systems in Hawaii and other cancer information resources. This brochure is 1 of 6 brochures of the Native Hawaiian Cancer Awareness Series which is endorsed by the `Ahahui o na Kauka, Native Hawaiian Physicians Association.