CHAMBERS COUNTY, Ala. (WRBL) -The numbers are frightening. Chambers County ranks among the highest in cervical cancer cases and deaths in the nation. According to the latest statistics confirmed by UAB’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology more women die from cervical cancer in Chambers County than in any other part of the state. Physicians are especially concerned, considering Alabama has one of the highest cervical cancer rates in the United States.

The American Cancer Society estimates around 14,000 new cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed this year. More than 4,000 women will die from a disease that is nearly 100% preventable with vaccines and screenings.

Dr. Heather White is the Executive Director of Together for Health, a global non-profit dedicated to eradicating Cervical Cancer. Dr. White is concerned about Chambers County and is a part of a large team of health care professionals and volunteers trying to help the community through Operation Wipeout, a free health care initiative bringing life-saving options to families.

“Chambers County has the dubious distinction of having among the highest rates, particularly death rates from cervical cancer in Alabama, and Alabama as a state has the highest rates of cervical cancer in the country. So we really see an opportunity in Chambers County to go directly to this issue,” said Dr. White.

Dr. Isabel Scarinci is UAB’s Vice Chair for Global and Rural Health with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She’s proud UAB helped develop the HPV (Human Papillomavirus) Vaccine and is dedicated to making sure all Alabama women, along with their children, have access to life-saving preventative care.

“We want Chambers County to be just the starting point of our goal is for Alabama to be the first state in the nation to eliminate cervical cancer as a public health problem,” said Dr. Scarinci.

Operation Wipeout is a cancer action event offering free screenings, follow-up care, and vaccines to protect against certain HPV infections linked to cervical, head, neck, anal and penile cancer. Operation Wipeout is being held Saturday, April 30th, at the Alfa Insurance Building in Lafayette, Alabama. The event starts at 9 AM and ends at noon central time.

“A lot of times, accessing health care can be a challenge. We have partnered with the Alabama Department of Public Health to block off appointments, about 200 appointments, so we are excited about the screening and then vaccination for their children, boys, and girls,” said Dr. Scarinci.

Those who qualify will have the opportunity to schedule a cervical cancer screening and an HPV vaccination appointment for their children. Cervical Cancer impacts women starting in their 30s. Men are also impacted as HPV-linked cancers in males include head, neck cancer, anal and penile cancer.

The vaccine is the best way to prevent cervical and other HPV-linked cancers. The vaccine is best used in children, both boys and girls, before exposure to the virus. Speak with your doctor. An estimated 80 million people in the United States have been vaccinated already.