Raising cervical health awareness

Tribal employees and tribal members listen as Susan Turner discusses the risks of cervical cancer and the importance of getting screened at a Southern Ute Health Services Cervical Cancer Awareness luncheon held at SunUte Community Center on Tuesday, Jan. 31.
Sacha Smith | The Southern Ute Drum

Southern Ute Health Services held a Cervical Cancer Awareness luncheon for the community on Tuesday, Jan. 31. January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month and the luncheon served as a way to educate women of all ages on the risks and ways to prevent the cancer.

Southern Ute Health Center Nurse Manager Susan Turner, headed up the luncheon with a presentation. Turner stated that due to late diagnoses American Indians and Alaska Natives as a group were three times more likely to die of cervical cancer than members of other races. She also said that the number of cervical cancer deaths combined have decreased over the years due to early screening tests.

The Southern Ute Health Center provides Pap tests to their patients, which screens for cervical cancer. Keeping up with your routine exams helps identify the cancer early on when it’s easiest to cure. The clinic has been offering gift cards to women who visited the clinic for their Pap tests. The clinic also provides the HPV vaccine for the younger female patients. Turner said girls and women ages 9-26 could receive the HPV vaccine. The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) causes most cases of cervical cancer.

Next month, the Health Center will be offering another class on breast cancer awareness. The Health Center will also be hosting mammogram parties, taking women to get screened in Durango and buying lunch for those who go.

For more information or to set up an appointment to get screened please call the Southern Ute Health Center at 970-563-4581.

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