January is not only the beginning of a new year, it is also cervical health awareness month. Since it is the beginning of the year it is the perfect time to schedule all those annual appointments that you tend to put off. That includes your yearly pap smear.
Every year 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and although it is very preventable and treatable, about one-third of those diagnosed with cervical cancer will die as a result of the cancer.
Because of increased screening and vaccinations, cervical cancer can be prevented and caught very early. However, in women who are not screened regularly, cervical cancer can be very serious and life threatening. This is why it is important to have your annual screening every year.
If it is available, it is important to get the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine as HPV is one of the leading causes of cervical cancer. The infection causes no symptoms, and usually clears up on its own with a healthy immune system. The issue comes when the virus doesn’t clear up, which happens about 5% of the time. The vaccine should be given before an infection occurs, and preferably before a girl becomes sexually active.
The goal of cervical health awareness month is to encourage women to get screened.
So how can you help?
You can encourage the women you love to go to the doctor. Encourage them to get screened so if they do have cancer it can be caught and treated early. Also, be an example by making appointments for yourself and following through. I know personally, I am horrible at making appointments because I am always busy, but I am going to make it a point to make my appointment this year!
How do you plan to spread the word about cervical health awareness month?