Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

 

This month, Teal is the Deal, as January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. Cervical cancer is when cancer cells are found in the cervix. The cervix is an organ that connects the uterus to the vagina and plays a major role in a women’s reproductive health. Cervical cancer can affect any woman who has ever been sexually active. Cervical cancer was once a leading cause of cancer death for women in the United States. According to the National Cancer Institute, nearly 14,100 women in the United States received a diagnosis of cervical cancer and nearly 4,300 died from the disease last year. Today, screening and prevention have greatly reduced the impact of this form of cancer. This is because HPV, or the human papilloma virus, is the cause in almost all cases. Treatment for cervical cancer can include chemotherapy, radiation treatment and surgery.

What can we do?

  • Practice abstinence or celibacy
  • Sexually activity promotes the growth of HPV.
  • Get the HPV vaccine 
  • The HPV vaccine is highly encouraged for girls aged 11-26
  • Get regular cervical cancer screenings
  • No screening necessary under the age of 21
  • Ages 21-29: Pap smear exam every 3 years  
  • Ages 30-65: Pap smear and HPV test together every 5 years OR Pap smear every 3 years and HPV test every 5 years.
  • Even after receiving the HPV vaccine, women are encouraged to still get screened
  • Know the symptoms:
  • Frequent urination
  • Persistent pelvic or back pain
  • Frequent vaginal infections
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Post-menopausal spotting 
  • Spotting between the menstrual cycle
  • Heavy flow during menstrual cycle

 

The good news is that cervical cancer is one of the few cancers that when found early, can be successfully treated. Also, there are very practical ways to protect and prevent cervical cancer. For more information, contact AACR, American Association of Cancer Research at aacr@aacr.org or call 215-440-9300