January is Cervical Health Awareness Month

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month

“1 in 147 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer in their lifetime.” HPV causes about 99% of all cervical cancer cases.

About 79 million Americans have the Human Papilloma Virus or HPV, an STD and a major cause of cervical cancer. It is transmitted through skin to skin contact, not via bodily fluids.

Risk factors for getting cervical cancer include:

“Smoking, multiple sex partners, sexual intercourse at an early age, chlamydia, weakened immune system or HIV”.

The bad news is that about 80% of women will be infected with some type of HPV before the age of 50.  It can remain dormant for years and can take up to 10 to 20 years to develop.  Therefore, it is possible to transmit the disease to multiple partners without knowing that you have HPV.

The good news is that Cervical Cancer can be detected early by going to your GYN doc for yearly PAP smears to test for pre-cancerous cells. It is also highly preventable. 

Ways to prevent cervical cancer:

Abstinence

Vaccinations (helps to prevent against the two most common types of HPV)

Proper use of condoms

 

If you haven’t scheduled a well woman check-up in a while, do yourself a favor and schedule yearly pap smears. It could save your life. If you are a sexually active male, be mindful of how your actions can affect your current and future partner. HPV has also been linked to oral, head and neck cancers.

Here is a cute and informative video:

Resources:

http://www.nccc-online.org/index.php/overview

http://healthfinder.gov/NHO/JanuaryToolkit.aspx

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