ALBANY, NY (09/03/2013)(readMedia)-- September is both National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month. For women everywhere, this is a good opportunity to determine if you are due-or if someone you love is due--for preventive screening services such as a pelvic exam or Pap test.
According to Dr. Christine Pluviose, Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood Vice President for Patient Services," about 12,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, and about 4,000 American women die of the disease." The good news, according to Pluviose, is that cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers: when caught early, the five-year survival rate is nearly 100 percent. "This is why," says Pluviose, "early screening and treatment are so important; these screenings can very often save a life!"
Ovarian cancer is the eighth most commonly diagnosed cancer in women in the U.S., with about 21,550 women diagnosed yearly. Symptoms of ovarian cancer include bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain or pressure, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, or having to urinate (pee) often or urgently. These symptoms can also be due to other medical problems, so you should talk to a health care provider when these symptoms are a change from what is normal for you and if you start having them every day for several weeks.
Planned Parenthood health centers provide important preventive cancer screenings and other related reproductive health services to over 500,000 women nationally each year. Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood (UHPP), which serves over 10,000 women each year at health centers in Albany, Hudson and Troy, has a professional medical staff that specializes in women's health services. Each center provides a wide array of preventive services including annual GYN exams, Pap tests and breast cancer screening, as well as some advanced treatments such as colposcopy and cryosurgery. The agency also has a significant referral network so that quick and appropriate referrals can be made for advanced detection and treatment services not available on site.
Being aware of your body is important at any age. It's important to know how your body normally looks and feels. If you notice any changes, tenderness, or pain, you should get checked out by a health care provider as soon as possible. All women over age 21 are encouraged to get an initial Pap test and follow up every three years. Women aged 30-64 who receive combined Pap and HPV tests can get tested every five years.
In these tough economic times, more women than ever need access to essential health care services. UHPP accepts most health insurances and can help qualified patients enroll in Medicaid. The agency also offers services on a sliding fee scale and is working now to educate patients who are uninsured about the opportunities for coverage under the Affordable Care Act or "Obamacare." Thanks to health care reform, staring in 2014, many more women will have access to routine well-woman exams and cervical cancer screenings without co-pays or other out-of-pocket expenses.
One in five women has turned to Planned Parenthood at some point in her life for professional, nonjudgmental, and confidential care. The Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood encourages women to make an appointment for a well-woman exam that can help detect ovarian cancer and other gynecological cancers. For additional information on what to expect during an exam and a walk through of what happens during the exam, you can see a video at http://youtu.be/I59oikCGyQk.
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Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood is a non-profit organization serving Albany, Columbia, Greene and Rensselaer counties. Each year, more than 13,000 patients make over 20,000 visits to UHPP health centers in Albany, Hudson and Troy. UHPP provides a wide range of reproductive health services including annual GYN exams including PAP tests, breast exams and self exam instruction, colposcopy, cryosurgery and LEEP, birth control information and supplies, Emergency Contraception, pregnancy testing and options counseling, first trimester abortion (medication and surgical), adoption and prenatal referrals, and more. UHPP provides educational programs to more than 5,000 participants at more than 500 programs each year and advocates for women's health.