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Breast and Cervical Cancer

Have you been screened recently? Take this quiz to tell us more. (En Español)

Simple lifestyle changes can help prevent breast and cervical cancer. Keeping a healthy weight, exercising regularly, limiting alcohol, and getting enough sleep are all steps every woman can take to reduce her risk. However, cancer can still become a problem, especially if there is a history of breast or cervical cancer in the family. We recommend regular doctor visits and screenings to help catch the disease before it becomes deadly.

Concerned about the cost of a screening? We may be able to help!

Women's Health Check (WHC) is funded through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Since 1996 the WHC has helped save thousands of lives in Idaho by helping low-income, uninsured, and under-insured women gain access to breast and cervical cancer screenings.

Click here to see if you qualify.

Why Should I Get Screened for Cancer?

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women. Having regular mammograms can lower the risk of dying from breast cancer.

Cervical Cancer: When cancer starts in the cervix, it is called cervical cancer. The cervix is the lower, narrow end of the uterus. Also known as the womb, the uterus is where a baby grows when a woman is pregnant. The cervix connects the upper part of the uterus to the vagina (the birth canal).

All women are at risk for cervical cancer. It occurs most often in women over age 30. Each year, about 12,000 women in the United States get cervical cancer and about 4,000 women die from it. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the main cause of cervical cancer. HPV is a common virus that is passed from one person to another during sex. At least half of sexually active people will have HPV at some point in their lives, but few women will get cervical cancer. Most mammograms and Pap test results are normal. However, any problems found are much easier to treat when discovered early.

When Should I Get Screened?

Breast Cancer

If you are 50 to 74 years old, be sure to have a screening mammogram every two years. If you are 40 to 49 years old, talk to your doctor about when to start and how often to get a screening mammogram.

Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer is the easiest gynecologic cancer to prevent, with regular screening tests and follow-up. Two screening tests that can help prevent cervical cancer or find it early are:

HPV and Cancer

HPV infections are so common that nearly all men and women get at least 1 type of HPV at some point in their lives — and the complications can be serious. Thousands of men and women get cancer from HPV infections every year in the United States.

What is HPV?
HPV data link

HPV is a group of viruses that can cause everything from cancer to genital warts. Often the virus spreads through sexual contact - vaginal, oral, or anal- but it can be spread through any kind of intimate skin contact. HPV doesn't always exhibit early symptoms so people can spread it to others unintentionally.

Vaccinating Early

Parents have a unique opporunity to protect their children from cancer by vaccinating their family against HPV infections. Health officials recommend that boys and girls get the HPV vaccine at 11 or 12 to take advantage of the best immune response. Preteens, ages nine through 14, need two doeses of the HPV vaccine. The second dose should be given six to 12 months after the first dose.

Vaccinating Teens and Adults

Teens between 15 and 26 can still be protected by the HPV vaccine, but they will need three doses. The second dose should be administered one to two months after the first dose, and the third dose should be administered six months after the first dose for best protection. Adults over 26 years old should ask their doctor before getting the HPV vaccine. As about the risk of new HPV infections and the benefits of immunization. Pregnant women and people who may be allergic to any ingredient in the vaccine should consult a doctor before getting the vaccine.

Colorectal Cancer

Among cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the 2nd leading cancer killer in the U.S. It doesn’t have to be. There is strong scientific evidence that screening for colorectal cancer beginning at age 50 saves lives!

What is Colorectal Cancer?

Cancer is always named for the part of the body where it starts, even if it spreads to other parts of the body later. Colorectal cancer is cancer that occurs in the colon or rectum. The colon is the large intestine or large bowel. The rectum is the passageway that connects the colon to the anus.

Screening Saves Lives

Colorectal cancer screening saves lives.

If you’re 50 or older, getting a colorectal cancer screening test could save your life. Here’s How:

Who Gets Colorectal Cancer?

Colorectal cancer occurs most often in people aged 50 years or older. The risk increases with age.
Both men and women can get colorectal cancer. If you are 50 or older, talk to your doctor about
getting screened.

Am I at High Risk?

Your risk for colorectal cancer may be higher than average if:

Speak with your doctor about when to start screening and how often you should be tested if you think you’re at high risk for colorectal cancer.

What are the Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer?

People who have polyps or colorectal cancer don’t always have symptoms, especially at first. Someone could have polyps or colorectal cancer and not know it. If there are symptoms, they may include:

If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor. They may be caused by something other than cancer. However, the only way to know what is causing them is to see your doctor.

Skin Cancer

Nearly 5 million people are treated for skin cancer each year in the United States and Idaho is number one in the nation for melanoma deaths. This cancer is entirely preventable and can be treated if you catch it early enough with a simple skin cancer screening.

What you can do:

Sunscreen rules.

Infants under 6 months: