Ed Day, Rockland County Executive

January 22, 2016
Contact: Scott Salotto (845) 638-5645
               Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, DO, MPH, DABFM, FAAFP (845) 364-2512


January is Cervical Health Awareness Month

NEW CITY, NY - - Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert encourage women to start the year off right and contact your health care provider to make sure you are up-to-date with your screening for cervical cancer. This screening is a very important part of a woman's health care, yet one that many overlook.

"There usually aren't any symptoms of cervical cancer in its earliest stage when it is most easy to treat. That is why it is so important for women to get regular Pap tests, and then follow-up as needed. A Pap test can find changes in the cervix (the lower part of the uterus or womb) that can be treated before they become cancer. The Pap test is also very helpful in finding cervical cancer early, when it is more likely to be cured," said Dr. Ruppert.

The American Cancer Society recommends that all women should begin cervical cancer screening at age 21. It is important to talk to your health care provider about cervical cancer screening and prevention.

The most important risk factor for cervical cancer is infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV), spread mainly through sex. There are many different types of HPV. In most cases, HPV goes away on its own and does not cause any health problems. However, when HPV does not go away, some types can cause health problems, including genital warts, cervical cancer, and other cancers.

Two of the Health Department's clinics offer the vaccine Gardasil®, which can prevent (not treat) certain types of HPV infection and can ultimately prevent certain types of cancer, not just HPV infection. The vaccine is given as a series of three shots over six months. The vaccine works by preventing some of the most common types of HPV, and the health problems that the virus can cause.

  • The STI (Sexually Transmitted Infections) Clinic offers the vaccine free of charge, while supplies last, to females between the ages of 18 to 26, and for males between the ages of 18 to 21 (and up to 26 years of age in certain circumstances). Call 845-364-3771 for more information.
  • The Family Planning Services Clinic also offers the vaccine free of charge, as well as Pap tests and pelvic exams for women, from teens to those in pre-menopause. Call 845-364-2531 or 845-364-2124 for more information.

Women who are uninsured, or underinsured, and meet certain eligibility requirements can get free Pap tests, pelvic exams and follow-up services through the Cancer Services Program of the Hudson Valley. Call toll free at 855-277-4482 for more information or to make an appointment.

For more information about cervical cancer call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit For more information about HPV and the vaccine, visit For more information about Health Department clinics, visit