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Primary Healthcare
General Dentistry Services
Women's Health Services
Breast Cancer Prevention
—Cervical Cancer Prevention
Family Pact (FPACT)

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Cervical Cancer Prevention

What is Cervical Cancer?

Cervical cancer forms in tissues of the cervix (the organ connecting the uterus and vagina). It is usually a slow-growing cancer that may not have symptoms but can be found with regular Pap tests (a procedure in which cells are scraped from the cervix and looked at under a microscope).

Estimated new cases and deaths from cervical (uterine cervix) cancer in the United States in 2008:

  1. New cases: 11,070
  2. Deaths: 3,870
See What You Need To Know About Cancer of the Cervix to learn more about cervical cancer symptoms and preventing methods.

Preventive Testing

One way to prevent cervix cancer is to have testing (screening) to find pre-cancers before they can turn into invasive cancer. The Pap test (or Pap smear) is the most common way to do this. If a pre-cancer is found and treated, it can stop cervical cancer before it really starts. Most invasive cervical cancers are found in women who have not had regular Pap tests. The American Cancer Society recommends the following guidelines for early detection:

  • All women should begin cervical cancer testing (screening) about 3 years after they start having sex (vaginal intercourse). A woman who waits until she is over 18 to have sex should start screening no later than age 21. A regular Pap test should be done every year. If the newer liquid-based Pap test is used, testing can be done every 2 years.
  • Beginning at age 30, women who have had 3 normal Pap test results in a row may be tested less often- every 2 to 3 years. Either the conventional (regular) Pap test or the liquid-based Pap test can be used. Some women should continue getting tested yearly - such as women exposed to DES before birth and those with a weakened immune system (from HIV infection, organ transplant, chemotherapy, or chronic steroid use).
  • Another reasonable option for women over 30 is to get tested every 3 years (but not more frequently) with either the regular Pap test or liquid-based Pap test, plus the HPV DNA test (see below for more information on this test).
  • Women 70 years of age or older who have had 3 or more normal Pap tests in a row and no abnormal Pap test results in the last 10 years may choose to stop having cervical cancer testing. Women with a history of cervical cancer, DES exposure before birth, HIV infection, or a weakened immune system should continue to have testing as long as they are in good health.
  • Women who have had a total hysterectomy (removal of the uterus and cervix) may also choose to stop having cervical cancer testing, unless the surgery was done as a treatment for cervical cancer or precancer. Women who have had a hysterectomy without removal of the cervix (simple hysterectomy) need to continue cervical cancer screening, and should continue to follow the guidelines above.


At VNCOC’s Southland Health Center we offers free cervical detection screening (testing) for eligible female patients based on the eligibility guidelines below:

  1. 25 years or older
  2. Household income is equal or less than 200% federal poverty level
  3. Uninsured or under insured

The procedures that we provide free of charge are:

  1. Cervical cancer screening
  2. Initial pelvic exam to determine the presence of a cervix for women who have had hysterectomy
  3. Pelvic and Papsmear tests
  4. Colposcopy directed biopsies
  5. Endocervical Curettage (ECC)
  6. Up to four pathology specimens with colposcopy directed biopsy

For qualified female patients between the age of 40-55 years old we also provide advance diagnostics including ultrasound, FNA, core needle and excisional biopsies, and case management.


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