At Your Cervix

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month.

Did you know?

  • Each year, more than 11,000 women in the United States get cervical cancer.
  • The human papillomavirus (HPV) causes almost all cases of cervical cancer.
  • HPV is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the United States.
  • While 79 million Americans currently have HPV, many of them don’t know they are infected with it. (Wow).
  • Early arrival, 90 percent survival—Fran Drescher, Cancer Schmancer

    According to the experts there’s a lot YOU CAN do to prevent cervical cancer.

    That’s encouraging!

    So how can I protect myself from HPV? The only sure way to prevent HPV is to not have sex.

    Since that’s probably not going to be the case for most, the following are a few ways to lower your chances of catching HPV (provided by the CDC).

    • Limit the number of partners you have. The fewer you have, the less likely you will be to get HPV.
    • Condoms may lower your risk when used every time, and worn properly. Having said this, HPV can infect areas not covered by a condom, so don’t expect it to be a guarantee.
    • HPV-Vaccine. The experts say teens and young adults need to get the HPV vaccine if they didn’t get it as pre-teens. Also, women up to age 26 and men up to age 21 can get it.

    You should know: HPV spreads through sexual contact — oral, vaginal or anal. So if you’re doing “it” on any level, you’re at risk!

    According the American Cancer Society: The most common form of cervical cancer starts with pre-cancerous changes, and there are ways to stop this disease from developing.

    The first way is to find and treat pre-cancers before they become true cancers, and the second is to prevent the pre-cancers.

    A well-proven way to prevent cervix cancer is to have testing (screening) to find pre-cancers before they can turn into invasive cancer. The Pap test (or Pap smear) and the HPV (human papillomavirus) test are used for this. If a pre-cancer is found, it can be treated, stopping cervical cancer before it really starts. Most invasive cervical cancers are found in women who have not had regular Pap tests.

    For more information on HPV, cervical health and prevention visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  Cancer.Org Mayo Clinic

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