The Community Health Center is Expanding its Fight Against Cervical Cancer

The Community Health Center of Richmond is increasing its efforts to combat cervical cancer with the aid of a
$55,000 federal grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration.

CHCR will use the funding to develop comprehensive patient outreach, education and tracking to ensure that all
female patients who need Pap smears receive them as part of their overall wellness care. Since 2009, CHCR has
improved its Pap testing rates from about 35 percent of its female patients to more than 78 percent in 2011. CHCR
expects to raise that rate to at least 90 percent with the new programs, says Chief Medical Officer Rosalinda
Rosario-Lipka, D.O.

“We want to identify and reach out to our female patients who are not getting regular Pap smears and pelvic exams
and enroll them in a program, so we make sure that they’re offered this test,” said Dr. Rosario-Lipka. “Pap smears
save lives.”

CHCR is developing a data-collection and tracking system that will inform primary care doctors when patients are
due or past-due for a Pap test. CHCR will send reminders to these patients and also flag their charts, so that if they
come into the center for routine appointments or ill visits, they can be offered Pap tests while they’re in the doctor’s
office. CHCR also plans patient outreach and public information campaigns to raise awareness about cervical
cancer prevention among residents of the North Shore of Staten Island.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that sexually active women have Pap tests every 1
to 3 years. During a Pap test, cells and mucus are gently scraped from the cervix and examined for evidence of
changes that indicate pre-cancerous or cancerous conditions. The Pap test is considered one of the most reliable
cancer screening tests available and enables doctors to identify and treat pre-cancerous conditions before cancer
ever develops.

Before Pap tests, cervical cancer was one of the major causes of death among American women of childbearing
age. Today, the death rate from cervical cancer is a low 2.4 per 100,0000 women a year. That percentage, however,
still represents an estimated 4,210 cancer deaths a year—most of which could be prevented by early detection.

Hispanic and African-American women have the highest rates of cervical cancer with a mortality rate of almost
twice that of Asian and Anglo women. Lack of awareness and access to regular testing contributes to higher death
rates. CHCR participates in programs that provide free or low-cost Pap smears for low-income women.

Download the entire press release on Cervical Cancer.

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