Checkup 13 - Cervical cancer

Checkup 13 - Cervical cancer
Checkup 13 - Cervical cancer

Checkup 13 emphasizes cervical cancer this month, and a pap smear is a simple way for women to get a vital health screening. 

Cervical cancer is largely prevented by the HPV vaccine and detected by the pap smear. 

While a smear can be a dreaded exam, it's over within minutes, and it could detect even early signs of cancer called pre-cancerous cells. 

Melissa Beeson is just 33 and was surprised to learn her irregular bleeding was a symptom of the stage three cancer. 

"It was a devastating phone call," she recalled. "Life really smacks you in the face right then and stops you dead in your tracks and it really took a while for me to accept it and absorb it in." 

"You hang up the phone after getting that conversation, you still have to live your normal life and go on," she said. "I still had to take care of my kids that evening and fix them dinner and break the news to my husband, you know, and decide how we were going to go from there." 

Melissa had surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.  Now her doctor says she is cancer-free and her prognosis is good.  

Women are encouraged to have a pap smear starting at age 21 and at intervals of one to three years after that, depending on risk factors and health history. 

To help you stay on track, for Checkup 13 this month, ladies may register for a free pap smear at these St. Vincent locations: 

St.Vincent Carmel Hospital
St.Vincent Women's Hospital
St.Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital
St.Joseph Hospital
St.Vincent Women's Services OB/GYN – Westfield 

To register call the hotline, which is open from 8:00 a.m. through 7:00 p.m. tonight.

The number is 1-866-U-CHECK-13, or 1-866-824-3251.

You may also register online through midnight tonight.

Click here to learn more about cervical cancer.