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Ohio Joins Multi-State Initiative To Reduce Cervical Cancer In Appalachia

The James Cancer Hospital at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
The James Cancer Hospital at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

The Ohio State University will participate in a major public health initiative aimed at preventing cervical cancer in at-risk Appalachian families across several states. 

The Ohio State Comprehensive Cancer Center, Arthur James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute are part of a four-state effort to prevent cervical cancer in Appalachian communities. An $11 million grant from the National Cancer Institute is bringing together 11 health systems throughout Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia.  

"This region has one of the highest rates of cervical cancer and cervical cancer deaths in the United States," says Electra Paskett, leader of the OSUCCC-James Cancer Control Research Program.

The new project targets the primary causes of the cervical cancer: tobacco smoking, human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and lack of cervical cancer screening. Health clinics will offer nicotine replacement therapy or counseling to stop smoking, at-home HPV screenings, and more outreach to increase vaccinations among patients 11-26 years old.

"We know that smoking tobacco products, HPV infection and lack of timely cervical cancer screening play a significant role in these exceptionally high rates," Paskett says.

Debbie Holmes has worked at WOSU News since 2009. She has hosted All Things Considered, since May 2021. Prior to that she was the host of Morning Edition and a reporter.