HPV vaccination and screenings are key to cervical cancer prevention and treatment
Cervical cancer, like many cancers, is easier to treat the earlier it’s detected. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that cervical cancer, when found early, is highly treatable and associated with long survival and good quality of life.
An annual pap test is the best way to screen for cervical cancer. Most health plans* offer no-cost screenings with pap tests for patients age 21 and older.
It’s important to remember that all women with a cervix are at risk of cervical cancer. Almost all cervical cancers are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), the most common sexually transmitted disease in the U.S. In fact, by age 50, the CDC estimates 4 out of 5 women will have been infected with HPV at some point during their lives.
Anybody who’s sexually active can contract HPV—and most of the people who have HPV don’t know it. Usually, the body’s immune system gets rid of the infection naturally within two years. It’s the HPV virus that lingers for many years and can cause different cancers across all genders and sexes. You can find out if you carry HPV through a test that most health plans also cover.
Get vaccinated for HPV
Thankfully there is now a vaccine for HPV. Vaccination is recommended for all children beginning at ages 11 to 13 and can be administered to adults up to age 45. The HPV vaccine is covered by most health plans. For women, even if you’ve received a vaccine, an annual pap screening exam is still recommended.
Regence members are encouraged to take advantage of all their no-cost preventive care benefits for better long-term health, including screenings and immunizations. Health plan benefits and coverage are available to members by logging in to their account at regence.com. You can also chat live with a customer representative or call us using the number of the back of your member ID card.
*Your health plan may have different benefits. Log in to regence.com to view your benefits.