What Is Cervical Cancer?
More than 13,000 women in the U.S. will develop invasive cervical cancer this year, and nearly 4,250 will die from it.1 Cervical cancer starts when the cells that line the cervix—an area of tissue that surrounds the opening of the uterus—gradually develop pre-cancerous changes that turn into cancer over time.
Why Is Cervical Cancer Screening Important?
Cervical cancer is one of the most detectable and treatable types of cancer, and early identification offers the best chance of a full recovery. The Pap smear is a procedure that detects any abnormal cells that might develop into cervical cancer, and identifies any infection or other abnormalities. The Pap smear is one of the most effective cancer-screening tools, and its use has drastically reduced cervical cancer deaths among women.
What Are the Current Cervical Cancer Screening Guidelines?
Ensuring our female members have access to regular cervical cancer screenings is one of our highest priorities. We follow screening guidelines that recommend a Pap smear once every three years for women ages 21 to 29. It’s recommended that women ages 30 to 65 have a Pap smear every five years, combined with a test for Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), which can commonly lead to cervical pre-cancer. Women who are high risk for cervical cancer should follow their doctor’s recommendations.
What Resources Does Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Offer Members?
To help increase awareness of the importance of regular Pap smears, we send our cervical cancer screening guidelines to our members and doctors, and provide them with additional educational materials both in print and online.
Our Care Management Program offers ongoing support for members with chronic conditions and complicated medical issues. Care managers will reach out to members who may have had a recent change in health, a condition they may need help managing, or a recent hospitalization. Participation in this program is completely optional, is offered at no additional cost to members, and won’t affect health plan benefits.
- Call the American Cancer Society toll-free at 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit the website: www.cancer.org.
- Visit the Blue Cross ahealthyme.com for more information about cervical cancer risk factors, symptoms, treatments, and more.
- Access the CDC page for cervical cancer screening.
1 “Key Statistics for Cervical Cancer.” American Cancer Society, n.d.