January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

by GregP_WN

The American Social Health Association (ASHA) and the National Cervical Cancer Coalition have named January Cervical Health Awareness Month to encourage women across the country to get screened for cervical cancer and receive the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine if they're eligible.

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

From Healthy Women.org

Get Screened: January Is Cervical Health Awareness Month

Each year, an estimated 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and, of those, about one-third will die as a result of the cancer. But cervical cancer is also a highly preventable and treatable cancer, thanks to improved screening and vaccination.

The American Social Health Association (ASHA) and the National Cervical Cancer Coalition have named January Cervical Health Awareness Month to encourage women across the country to get screened for cervical cancer and receive the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine if they're eligible.

Today, detection tools and inoculations make cervical cancer a condition that is relatively easy to prevent and treat. In women who are not vaccinated and not screened regularly, either due to a lack of information or inadequate health care, cervical cancer can still be a serious, even fatal, illness.

"Science has put us in a remarkable position to protect women from cervical cancer, but technology is only half the battle," said ASHA president and CEO Lynn Barclay. "It's imperative we continue efforts that not only promote greater access to health care, but that we also inform women about cervical cancer and the marvelous means we now have to prevent this disease."

This year, the organizations are focusing on increasing the number of eligible women getting the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. HPV is common among women and is the main cause of cervical cancer. It's estimated that at least 75 percent of the reproductive-age population has been infected with one or more types of genital HPV. In the vast majority of cases, the virus causes no symptoms or health problems and goes away on its own when a healthy immune system clears the infection. But, in about 5 percent of women, a persistent infection occurs with high-risk strains of HPV, which causes nearly all cases of cervical cancer.

The HPV vaccine, which must be given in three doses, can protect women against four HPV types—the two most common high-risk strains (HPV 16 and 18) and the two most common low-risk types (HPV 6 and 11). The vaccine should be given before an infection occurs, ideally, before a girl becomes sexually active.

Barclay noted that it's important for parents and primary care physicians to promote the vaccination. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the inoculation for girls and women aged 11 to 26. Health care professionals are increasingly suggesting that teen boys and men get the vaccine as well.

"Fewer than half of girls and young women who are eligible for these vaccines have completed the three-dose series, so increasing vaccine uptake is a priority for us," said Barclay.

According to the National Institutes of Health, cervical cancer develops slowly, starting as a precancerous condition known as dysplasia. These abnormal cells are easily detected through a Pap test and can be treated effectively. There is also an HPV test that, when combined with a Pap test in women over age 30, can help identify women at risk for developing cervical cancer.

If left undetected, dysplasia can turn into cervical cancer, which can potentially spread to the bladder, intestines, lungs and liver. Moreover, women may not suspect cervical cancer until it has become advanced or metastasizes, a fact which underscores the importance of regular Pap tests. Talk to your health care provider about what screening tests you need and how often you need them.

Symptoms of cervical cancer, which may not show up until the cancer is advanced, include abnormal vaginal bleeding, unusual discharge, periods that last longer or have a heavier flow than usual and bleeding after menopause.

Read more articles on Women's Health issues on their website www.HealthyWomen.org

More on National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month from the National Cervical Cancer Coalition

What is Cervical Health Awareness Month?

Stay Strong And Beat Cervical Cancer

The United States Congress designated January as Cervical Health Awareness Month. Nearly 13,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, but the disease is virtually always preventable with vaccination and appropriate screening (Pap and HPV tests).

During January, NCCC and its many local chapters across the country highlight issues related to cervical cancer, HPV disease and the importance of early detection. While NCCC chapters host events throughout the year, January is a month with a special focus as chapters celebrate Cervical Health Awareness Month and work to spread the word in their communities.

NCCC and the American Sexual Health Association (ASHA) also offer a range of resources (listed below) to educate the public and healthcare providers about cervical health, from fact sheets to episodes of ASHA’s Sex+Health podcast.

What Can You Do?

As someone who is interested in educating and advocating for increased knowledge of cervical cancer and HPV disease, you can do a lot. You can contact your local media to encourage coverage of Cervical Health Awareness Month, offering this ASHA/NCCC press release. You can also send this proclamation to your mayor, or local legislative office to publicly recognize Cervical Health Awareness Month.

You can also check out the resources on this page, from fact sheets to episodes of ASHA’s Sex+Health podcast, to educate yourself and others. Download, display and distribute our cervical cancer awareness month posters and help NCCC and ASHA get the word out on social media.

Promote Cervical Health on Social Media

You can help NCCC promote the importance of cervical health and cervical cancer prevention by sharing prevention messages throughout the month that cervical cancer is preventable!

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Tweets to use

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month. Learn more, get involved, make a difference! http://ow.ly/g3RQ30760mz #CervicalHealthMonth

Free fact sheet download – Ten Things to Know About HPV http://ow.ly/VKdY307APzi #CervicalHealthMonth

Find free/low cost Pap tests in your area. http://ow.ly/9REq30760to #CervicalHealthMonth

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Facebook Status Posts to use

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month. Visit NCCC to learn more. Get involved and make a difference! http://ow.ly/MdJb30760xc

During Cervical Health Month in January ASHA is offering a free download of the fact sheet Ten Things to Know About HPV. Get yours today. http://ow.ly/VKdY307APzi

During Cervical Health Month in January you can download free posters and more from NCCC. For more go to NCCC. Get involved, make a difference! http://ow.ly/jgj730760D4

Not one single woman ever needs to die from cervical cancer. We have the tools we need to prevent this disease so let’s use them. Get involved. Make a difference! Visit the National Cervical Cancer Coalition online http://ow.ly/jgj730760D4

From the American Cancer Society

Cervical Health Awareness Month

The American Cancer Society is actively fighting cervical cancer on many fronts. We are helping women get tested for cervical cancer, helping them understand their diagnosis, and helping them get the treatments they need. The American Cancer Society also funds new research to help prevent, find, and treat cervical cancer.

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