I consider myself a healthy woman. Recently I had my first baby. Throughout my pregnancy, I had to go multiple times to the OBGYN office and never had any issues. So last October when I received an email recommending I schedule my cervical cancer screening, it was at the bottom of my list.
As a new mom thinking of all my “to do’s” the idea of “1. Make an appointment” and “2. Take time off from work to get a Pap test” seemed daunting. And, other than the lack of sleep, I feel great!
And though I know that I have it relatively easy compared to others, the scenario of being too busy to go get a screening is similar to many women. In my case, the benefits of completing a screening seemed too abstract compared to the never-ending pile of laundry I always have to do.
But through my relatively brief time at LBCHP, I’ve learned about my risk for cervical cancer and how all women should start getting screened for cervical cancer at age 21 - which is 11 years ago for me! Most importantly, I learned that cervical cancer is 100% preventable, if precancerous cells are found early.
So, last month “I grabbed the bull by its horns” and booked my appointment. For many, the idea of being screened for cancer is a little scary and, if you are like me, you start overthinking it. It’s also not the most dignified experience, as I think everyone that has ever completed a Pap would say, but I am glad I did it.
When the tests came back, there were some abnormalities, which meant I had to go back. I was in panic mode for a few weeks, but further testing showed no serious concern. Thankfully, I had received the HPV vaccine when I was 12 (Thank you, Mom!) and due to my work at LBCHP, I truly learned how important cervical cancer screening is and did not delay getting my Pap test.
I feel very lucky to be healthy, and through my work at LBCHP, I hope to help other Louisiana women get screened!
To learn more about when you should get screened, go here: http://lbchp.org/screening-recommendations
To learn if you qualify for no-cost Pap tests and mammograms, go here: http://lbchp.org/program-eligibility/
By Rosa Torres Martinez
LBCHP Intervention Coordinator