HHSC Encourages Cancer Screenings During Cervical Health Awareness Month
AUSTIN – The Texas Health and Human Services Commission is recognizing January as National Cervical Health Awareness Month and encouraging women to get screened for cervical cancer.
“Over the years, we have seen a dramatic decrease in cervical cancer. However, rates have recently leveled off,” said Faith Sandberg-Rodriguez, associate commissioner of Family Clinical Services. “Half of the cervical cancer cases we see today occur among women who have never or rarely been screened. We are encouraging Texans to turn that trend around by resolving to prioritize cervical health. Routine cervical cancer screening is the most effective way to detect cervical cancer early, and the first step is talking with your doctor.”
Cervical cancer is the third leading cancer diagnosis in women ages 20-39 and fifth in women ages 40-49. According to the Texas Cancer Registry, there were 1,395 new cases of cervical cancer in Texas women in 2019.
HHSC’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Services (BCCS) program provides low-cost and free women’s health services for uninsured and underinsured Texas women who meet eligibility requirements. Services include cervical and breast cancer screenings, clinical breast examinations, mammograms and breast biopsies. BCCS helps fund clinics across the state to provide these life-saving screening and diagnostic services. In fiscal year 2021, BCCS served 29,232 women, including 5,421 women who received cervical cancer screenings.
The BCCS program is partly funded through the CDC. The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program awards funding to states for early detection of cervical and breast cancers. In June 2022, the federal program awarded BCCS more than $7.4 million. The Texas Legislature appropriates more than $2 million annually to supplement federal efforts.
National Cervical Health Awareness Month is observed in January in the United States. Efforts throughout the month raise awareness about cervical cancer and provide education about prevention, screening, and treatments. More information about cervical cancer is posted on the CDC website.