Save the date for ‘Friend to Friend’

By Tanya Davis | Published Wednesday, September 12, 2012

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To help women have a better understanding of breast and cervical cancer and the best way to prevent these cancers, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in Wise County will conduct a “Friend to Friend” party on Tuesday evening, Oct. 16, at the newly opened Weatherford College Wise County campus.

The party will include a presentation on breast and cervical cancers by a medical professional, and there will be a discussion of the obstacles women may encounter when trying to access mammograms and Pap tests locally. Participants will have an opportunity to visit with exhibitors that conduct these screenings, and the exhibitors will have staff members available to make screening appointments for participants.

Information will be available on how those who qualify can access financial assistance if the cost of the screening prevents them from getting a screening.

Cervical cancer is the easiest female cancer to prevent. A Pap test, which screens for cervical cancer, can help prevent cervical cancer or find it early. It is one of the most reliable and effective cancer screening tests available. With a Pap test, the doctor is looking for any cell changes on the cervix that might become cervical cancer if they are not treated appropriately.

So, who should be screened, and when should they be screened? According to the American Cancer Society’s guidelines, women between ages 21 and 29 should have a Pap test every three years. The doctor may also suggest an HPV test if there are abnormal Pap test results.

For women between the ages of 30 and 65, it is preferred that they have a Pap test plus an HPV test every five years, but it is also OK to have a Pap test alone every three years. If a woman is over age 65 and has had regular cervical cancer testing with normal results, she should not be tested for cervical cancer. However, women with history of a serious cervical pre-cancer should continue to be tested for at least 20 years after that diagnosis, even if testing continues past age 65.

If a woman’s uterus and cervix were removed for reasons not related to cervical cancer and she does not have a history of cervical cancer or serious pre-cancer, she also should not be tested. Women with a history of serious pre-cancer will need to visit with their doctor about their screening needs.

Don’t forget to make plans to join other women for food, information and fellowship at the Friend to Friend party. For more information, call Wise County AgriLife Extension at (940)627-3341.

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