Health Net Reminds Women: Cervical Cancer is One of the Most Preventable Female Cancers

  Health Net Reminds Women: Cervical Cancer is One of the Most Preventable
  Female Cancers

                  January is Cervical Health Awareness Month

Business Wire

LOS ANGELES -- January 14, 2013

Jan. 1 marked the start of Cervical Health Awareness Month. In support of this
annual educational effort, Health Net, Inc. (NYSE:HNT) is working to increase
awareness regarding the importance of women having regular Pap tests, as well
as the importance of both boys and girls receiving HPV (human papilloma virus)
vaccines.

“We really want women to know that cervical cancer is one of the most
preventable female cancers,” says Jonathan Scheff, M.D., chief medical officer
for HealthNet, Inc. “Abnormal cell changes can be detected through Pap tests,
and precancerous lesions can be treated and cured before they develop into
cancer,” he adds. “As a result, cervical cancer, once one of the most common
cancers affecting U.S. women, now ranks 14^th in frequency – according to the
National Institutes of Health.”

Scheff also commented on the HPV vaccine, noting, “Many people are under the
impression that the HPV vaccine is just for girls, and are unaware that the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the vaccine for boys as
well. As part of Cervical Health Awareness Month, which is sponsored by the
National Cervical Cancer Coalition, Health Net is focusing on sharing this
information.”

HPV Vaccine

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), the most important risk factor
for cervical cancer is infection from HPV, a sexually transmitted disease that
is spread via skin-to-skin contact. The ACS also notes that the risk of
contracting HPV is increased among women who’ve had many sexual partners, or
who have a partner who’s had many partners. The National Cervical Cancer
Coalition (NCCC) reports that 6 million new HPV infections occur annually in
the United States, and about 20 million people – men and women – are thought
to have an active HPV infection at any given time. According to the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), other factors that can increase the
risk of cervical cancer include smoking, having HIV, using birth control pills
for five or more years, and giving birth to three or more children.

The NCCC points out that, although HPV vaccines won’t eliminate all HPV or
cervical cancer, the vaccines also can help prevent infection from the HPV
that can lead to cervical cancer and can cause genital warts. With prevention
in mind, the CDC recommends the three-dose HPV vaccine for girls ages 11 to
12. For girls and young women ages 13 through 26 who haven’t been previously
vaccinated, a catch-up vaccination is advised. The CDC cautions that males
also are at risk, and recommends that boys aged 11 or 12 and young men aged 13
through 21, who did not receive any or all of the three recommended doses when
they were younger, receive HPV vaccinations.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved two HPV immunizations.
Gardasil^® is a vaccine for both males and females; Cervarix^® is just for
females.

Cervical Cancer Facts

The National Cancer Institute reports that – while cervical cancer is
preventable in certain circumstances – it estimates that in 2012, more than
12,000 American women will have been diagnosed and nearly 4,000 will have died
from an advanced form of the disease. Prevention through early detection is
the key. Toward that end, the ACS recommends that women complete their first
Pap no later than age 21. Women aged 21 to 29 should have a Pap test every
three years, according to the ACS, unless advised otherwise by a health care
professional. Women ages 30 through 65 can then be screened every five years
with a Pap test combined with an HPV test, or every three years with a Pap
test alone. Women with certain risk factors may need to have more frequent
screening or continue screening beyond age 65. The ACS further cautions that,
even if they’ve received the HPV vaccine, women still need a regular Pap
screening.

While precancerous cells and early cervical cancer generally do not cause
symptoms, the ACS notes that cervical cancer that has become invasive can
cause symptoms, including:

  *abnormal vaginal bleeding, such as bleeding after sex or between periods,
    and having longer or heavier than usual periods;
  *pain during sexual intercourse; and
  *unusual vaginal discharge that may contain blood or occur between periods.

Health Net’s Scheff emphasizes, “There’s no question that as more women
receive regular Pap tests, and as the number of people getting HPV
vaccinations increases, lives will be saved.”

For more information about cervical cancer, visit:

  *http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cervicalcancer/index
  *http://www.nccc-online.org/
  *http://www.wcn.org/cc/
  *http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/cervical/basic_info/risk_factors.htm

Medical Advice Disclaimer

The information provided in this news release is not intended as medical
advice or as a substitute for professional medical care. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other health provider for any questions you may
have regarding your medical condition and follow your health care provider’s
instructions.

About Health Net

Health Net, Inc. is a publicly traded managed care organization that delivers
managed health care services through health plans and government-sponsored
managed care plans. Its mission is to help people be healthy, secure and
comfortable. Health Net, through its subsidiaries, provides and administers
health benefits to approximately 5.4million individuals across the country
through group, individual, Medicare (including the Medicare prescription drug
benefit commonly referred to as “Part D”), Medicaid, U.S. Department of
Defense, including TRICARE, and Veterans Affairs programs. Health Net’s
behavioral health services subsidiary, Managed Health Network, Inc., provides
behavioral health, substance abuse and employee assistance programs to
approximately 4.9million individuals, including Health Net’s own health plan
members. Health Net’s subsidiaries also offer managed health care products
related to prescription drugs, and offer managed health care product
coordination for multi-region employers and administrative services for
medical groups and self-funded benefits programs.

For more information on Health Net, Inc., please visit Health Net’s website at
www.healthnet.com.

This release contains links to other sites that are not owned or controlled by
Health Net. Please be aware that Health Net is not responsible for the
contents linked or referred to from this release. Links to other websites are
provided for the user’s convenience. Health Net does not express an opinion on
the content or the properties of such linked websites and disclaims any
liability in connection therewith.

Contact:

Health Net, Inc.
Lori Rieger
(602) 794-1415
lori.rieger@healthnet.com
www.twitter.com/hnlori
 
Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.