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Mobile team to offer cervical cancer screenings

The Daily Star - 1/10/2019

Jan. 10--January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, and a mobile screening coach will be available next week in Otsego County to help the uninsured and underinsured get tested.

At least 50 percent of the reproductive-age population has been infected with one or more types of human papillomavirus, which is found in 99 percent of cervical cancers. There are more than 100 different types of HPV, most of which are considered low-risk and do not cause cervical cancer. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection, and about 14 million people become newly infected each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many people with HPV don't develop symptoms but can still infect others through sexual contact.

Gynecologist Dr. Charu Chanana said condoms and the HPV vaccine are the best line of defense for women. Boys and girls as young as 9 can receive the Gardasil vaccine.

"I would stay we could still work on getting people to get it," Chanana said. The vaccine targets four HPV strains that account for about 70 percent of cervical cancers. HPV can take years and even decades to develop into cervical cancer. Most types resolve themselves in a few years or become dormant in a person's system, and Pap tests usually help identify problems in the pre-cancerous stage that can be removed.

Women between the ages of 30 and 65 should have a Pap test plus HPV test done every five years.

A Bassett Healthcare Network mobile screening coach will be at Southside Mall in Oneonta from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, January 17 to offer free breast and cervical cancer screenings to the uninsured and underinsured. Men and women ages 50 and over will also be given take-home tests for colorectal cancer. The Cancer Services Program of the Central Region covers Delaware, Otsego, Schoharie, Madison, Herkimer and Oneida Counties.

More than 12,000 people have been screened by the program to date; 1,019 required medical follow-up, and 75 people were diagnosed with cancer and received treatment. Screenings are done on the coach, at Bassett locations, and with participating providers. Staff also provide enrollment to the Medicaid Cancer Treatment Program.

"Primarily we help people who don't have insurance or have high deductibles or copays ...We want everyone to be able to get their cancer screenings," said spokesperson Cali Riese.

Future mobile screening events are posted on the bassett.org website. Appointments can be made by calling 1-888-345-0225.

Erin Jerome, staff writer, may be reached at (607) 441-7221, or at ejerome@thedailystar.com. Follow her on Twitter at @DS_ErinJ .

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(c)2019 The Daily Star (Oneonta, N.Y.)

Visit The Daily Star (Oneonta, N.Y.) at www.thedailystar.com

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