ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A new CDC report finds that many women aren't getting tested for cervical cancer, even though screenings are known to save lives.
Records show 12,000 American women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year. Another 4,000 die from the disease every year.
Regular pap smears starting at age 21 can help prevent cancer.
The health department offers pap smears.
Many health care professionals encourage boys and girls to have the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine because HPV can lead to cancer.
"It's a part of the entire package in terms of preventing cervical cancer," said District Health Director Dr. Jacqueline Grant. "Screening for pap smears and getting the HPV vaccine. When you combine the two you are talking about a 93 percent reduction."
The HPV vaccine is recommended at 11 years of age for boys and girls and can be given until age 26 before any sexual activity.