Maine CDC Press Release

January 22, 2008

The Health of Maine Women: The Importance of Pap Tests

For more information, please contact:
Selina McGlauflin, Health Educator
Maine Breast and Cervical Health Program
Phone: 207-287-5397 Fax: 207-287-4100

Augusta – With the holiday rush over, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services wants to remind Maine women about the importance of regular Pap tests in preventing cervical cancer. January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. Now is the perfect time for women to make an appointment with their doctor for a Pap test especially if it has been five or more years since their last screening.

Women who do not have regular Pap tests are at highest risk of developing cervical cancer. Most cervical cancer is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). According to the Department’s Maine Center for Disease Control (Maine CDC), cancer of the cervix can almost always be prevented if a woman has regular Pap tests to detect early cell changes.

“Many women don’t have Pap tests because of the cost and they don’t have insurance.” said Dora Ann Mills, MD, MPH, Director of Maine CDC, “There is a state program that may be able to provide assistance, all women need to do is call.”

For women in need of financial assistance, the Maine Breast and Cervical Health Program within the Maine CDC provides free breast and cervical cancer screening for eligible women. To qualify, a woman must be 40 and older; meet certain income guidelines; have no health insurance (including MaineCare and Medicare Part B), or have insurance that does not cover screening services. For more information, women should call 1-800-350-5180.

For more information about cancer control efforts, the Maine Comprehensive Cancer Control Program with the Maine CDC provides leadership for, and coordination of, Maine’s statewide comprehensive cancer control efforts. The Program is guided by the goals and objective in the Maine Cancer Plan. For more information about the plan, please call 1-207-287-4715 or visit www.mainecancerconsortium.org.