In Indiana, there are nearly 250 new cases of cervical cancer and 85 cervical cancer-related deaths among women each year. Cervical cancer is almost completely preventable through regular, routine screenings, avoidance of controllable risk factors and vaccination.

House Bill 1278, authored by State Rep. Sharon Negele from Attica, would require the Indiana State Department of Health to develop a statewide strategic plan to decrease Indiana’s cervical cancer mortality rate. Specifically, ISDH would be tasked with identifying barriers to cervical cancer prevention, screening and treatment, developing public and private partnerships to increase cervical cancer awareness, and recommend actions to reduce the number of deaths associated with the disease.

Most cases of cervical cancer are found in women who are aged 50 or younger, but oftentimes older women do not realize that the risk of developing cervical cancer is still present as they age. Women need proper resources and information to help protect themselves. By starting the conversation between policymakers and health professionals, we can help educate the public and raise awareness about the ways to prevent and treat cervical cancer.

After being passed unanimously by the House of Representatives and Senate, the bill can now be signed into law by the governor.