Cancer is a medical illness where cells in the body grow out of control. In cervical cancer, cancer occurs in cervical cells. The cervix is the neck of the uterus that connects it to the vagina. Cervical cancer is more common among women older than 30. One of the main causes of cervical cancer is infection with human papillomavirus (HPV).
Early detection of cervical cancer is possible, and in the early stages it is a treatable illness with high survival rates.
According to the American Cancer Society, the 2019 estimates for cervical cancer in the United States are as follows:
- Approximately 13,170 diagnoses of cervical cancer (invasive) will be made.
- Cervical cancer will take the lives of approximately 4,250 women.
A diagnosis of precancer of the cervix is far more common than invasive cancer. Previously, cervical cancer was among the most common fatal cancers in American women. As the use of Pap tests increased, the death rate from cervical cancer dropped significantly. Pap tests can help find changes to cervical cells before the development of cancer. It may also help in the early detection of cervical cancer. In the past 15 years, the death rate due to cervical cancer has remained more or less the same.
Cervical cancer awareness month is a chance to increase awareness about the ways in which women can protect themselves against HPV and cancer of the cervix. HPV is a common infection that transmits via sexual activity. It is the cause of almost all cervical cancer cases.
Approximately 79 million people in the United States currently have HPV. Every year, about 14 million people become newly infected. However, there is good news:
- You can prevent HPV by getting an HPV vaccine.
- You can often prevent cervical cancer by getting screening tests regularly and adequate follow-up care.
You can use cervical health awareness month to spread the word and share information about the steps that women should take to maintain their health. Cervical cancer awareness month is an excellent time to encourage women to take care of their cervical health and reiterate the significance of getting screening exams regularly.
Infection with HPV causes almost all the cases of cancer of the cervix. Getting an HPV vaccine can prevent against an HPV infection. Moreover, you can help prevent the occurrence of cancer of the cervix or detect it early by getting screening tests. There are two such screening tests:
- The Pap smear is a test that detects changes in cervical cells, which may become cancerous if they don’t get timely and correct treatment.
- The HPV test detects HPV.
The HPV vaccine is recommended for anyone between 11 and 12 years old (not just girls). Recommendations state that women should start getting regular Pap tests when they are 21 years old.
Since cervical cancer is highly treatable (if detected in early stages) and preventable, it’s important to talk more about it and spread awareness.
There are various ways in which you can draw attention to the problem of cervical cancer.
One of the best ways to spread awareness about cervical cancer during cervical cancer month and throughout the year is to communicate. Talk to women and encourage them to have their wellness exams this year. Let them know that most insurance plans cover screening exams for cervical cancer and wellness exams. Based on their insurance, some women may be able to get these exams at no cost.
Talk to the parents of preteens, and tell them about the importance of the HPV vaccine in preventing the spread of the infection and preventing cervical cancer.
You can also tweet about the importance of cervical cancer awareness month.
Some people wear teal and white cervical cancer ribbons during cervical health awareness month in January to raise awareness for cervical cancer and honor cancer survivors.
Educate yourself about what you can do to maintain cervical health. You can discuss the HPV vaccine and screening tests for cervical cancer with your doctor or read about them on the web. There are many websites run by the government that spread awareness about cervical cancer prevention and early detection.
During cervical cancer awareness month, you could host an event in your community to spread awareness about maintaining cervical health.
Cervical cancer is a type of gynecological cancer that is highly treatable (in the early stages) and preventable. January is cervical cancer awareness month, and you can take this opportunity to spread awareness about taking care of cervical health. You can do this by communicating, putting on a cervical cancer ribbon, or educating yourself.