Approximately 12,000 American women will learn they have cervical cancer this year,
and about 4,000 will die from an advanced form of the disease. January is Cervical Health Awareness Month and the Northeast Health District is focused on educating women
about the importance of the Pap test as a screening tool for cervical cancer and about vaccines that can further reduce the burden of this devastating disease.
It’s the start of a new year–a time many reflect on their health. Screening is a crucial part of a woman’s health care regimen, yet one that many overlook. It’s important to remember that cervical cancer is a preventable disease–as long as it’s caught early enough.
While routine Pap testing is the best means of detecting cervical cancer at an early stage, vaccines have the potential to protect women from the disease by targeting cancer-causing types of the human papillomavirus (HPV). Two forms of the virus, HPV 16 and HPV 18, account for more than 70 percent of all cervical cancer cases. Some medical experts believe that through a successful education, screening and vaccination program for women, we will have the potential to nearly eliminate cervical cancer in the U.S.
Facts about Cervical Cancer/HPV
- 11% of women in the United States report that they do not have regular Pap test screenings.
- 99.7% of the cervical cancer cases in the United States are caused by certain types of a virus called human papillomavirus or HPV.
- HPV is transmitted through genital contact. HPV is so common it is considered the “common cold” of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).
- HPV is easily transmitted. 80% of all women, by the time they are 50, will have contracted the HPV virus.
- The cervical cancer/HPV vaccine has been shown to substantially reduce the risk of developing cervical cancer by at least 70%. Limited the number of sex partners and using condoms further help reduce the risk. NOTE: Condoms do not provide 100% protection against HPV.
- In the U.S. about 10,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, and 3,700+ women die each year from this disease.
- To reduce the risk of developing cervical cancer, (1) get your cervical cancer/HPV vaccine if you are between the ages of 9-26 years old. And remember, (2) get your regular Pap test and HPV test when recommended.