Women have health needs that are unique from men. There are therefore some preventive measures that are specific to a woman’s health, and it is important to know what those are. One of these is a critical screening test known as the Pap smear, a test that screens for cervical cancer, and that can save your life.
The Pap remains one of our most important tools in the fight against cervical cancer, a disease that affects nearly 13,000 women and claims the lives of over 4,000 women each year in the U.S. alone.
While the Pap smear can find cervical cancer early, or before it starts, some women continue to go without one, while countless more remain unsure about when they should be getting one. VCC, your local community health care clinic, is working hard to make sure our patients are well informed about their need for this important test.
In a recent push to get more women in, VCC posted to their social media, a video of one of their nurse practitioners, Jennifer Young, explaining the procedure and encouraging women to get their cervical cancer screening done. Reaching over 2,000 people in its first few weeks up, there was a clear interest in the subject material, giving VCC further encouragement to continue on their quest to educate a public not only needing, but wanting, better access to health information. While we did see more women present for their screening, we know many more are hesitant to make that appointment. VCC continues to strategize efforts to increase patient screening rates.
National guidelines state that, in general, women should begin receiving a Pap at the age of 21; from then until age 30, a Pap should be performed at least every three years. After the age of 30, women have the option of continuing the Pap every three years, or choosing to instead get one every five years along with an HPV test. While these guidelines are relevant for most women, it is important to discuss your particular circumstances with your healthcare professional as you may have a risk factor that requires more frequent testing.
Regardless of gender, we can all benefit from the knowledge that comes along with this awareness, and use that information to help encourage our loved ones who may not be seeking care as often as they should. The women around us represent our mothers, daughters, aunts, sisters, grandmothers, and friends, and sometimes all it takes is one voice of encouragement and support to bring a patient in for what could be a lifesaving visit.
By creating better awareness and stronger patient-clinician relationships, we hope to keep our communities healthy and thriving into tomorrow
You can visit www.vcc.org to learn more about the health clinic and the services they provide. You can also follow us on social media by searching for Vista Community Clinic on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
About Vista Community Clinic
With eight state-of-the-art locations in North San Diego, Orange and Riverside Counties, VCC provides affordable, high quality health care to more than 66,000 community residents. Services offered by VCC include primary care, pediatrics, prenatal and women’s health, optometry, chiropractic care, dental health, podiatry, acupuncture and behavioral health services. VCC also offers a wide array of community health education programs which are free and open to all community residents. VCC is recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) as a Level 3 (highest) Patient-Centered Medical Home, and is the recipient of the HRSA National Quality Leader Seal for exceeding national clinical quality benchmarks. For more information call 760.631.5000 or visit www.vcc.clinic.
Author credit: VCC Chief Medical Officer, Kelly Motadel, MD, MPH