(KWES) - January is Cervical Cancer Awareness month.
Every year, about 4,000 HPV-associated cancers are diagnosed in Texas.
Cervical cancer is the most preventable and detectable type of cancer through regular screening. Texas had the highest rates of women who were diagnosed and died from cervical cancer. In 2016, the incidence rate for cervical cancer was 9 new cases per 100,000 women in Texas.
Although the rates have been getting better compared to 20 years ago, more work still needs to be done. With studies reported every year, the good news is that cervical pre-cancers are diagnosed far more often than invasive cervical cancer because more woman are getting the pap test. This helps find the changes in the cervix before the cancer develops, this is when the disease is most curable.
The HPV vaccine helps prevent cervical cancer which can be found at any primary care clinic. The CDC recommends women between the ages of 9 and 26 to get the vaccine, while men between 13 and 21 also get it, too.
Doctors said one of the biggest misconceptions is that HPV only causes cervical cancer in women.
Texas has some of the lowest rates of vaccination in the country, which is why local clinics are reminding people to get vaccinated to prevent the cervical cancer numbers from going up. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission said the three steps to preventing HPV-associated cancers are Awareness, Education, and importantly, vaccination.