January is not only the new year but it is also Cervical Health Awareness Month. This month is meant to shine a light on cervical cancer and HPV disease as well as the importance of detecting it early! HPV is an infection that is transmitted sexually and is actually more common than you might think. What you may not know is it is one of the major causes of cervical cancer. Over seventy-nine million Americans have HPV and many of them don’t know that they are infected. This amount of infections is probably partially the reason that over eleven thousand women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year.
Cervical cancer is highly preventable in most Western countries. This is all because of PAP smears and screening tests that can tell you whether or not there is anything abnormal going on. There is also a vaccination for HPV which will prevent the spread of the infection. When cervical cancer is found in the early stages it is highly treatable and the person can still live a long and happy life! The five year survival rate when it is caught in the early stages is ninety-six percent.
You can help the cause of this month by getting your own PAP smear and HPV vaccination if you are of childbearing age or if you are sexually active. You can also encourage the women in your life to do the same. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with HPV or cervical cancer, you can share your story through social media to help spread awareness of the importance of screening tests. You can also help further the cause by holding fundraisers and community awareness events. This disease is so treatable that there is no reason to not be as proactive as possible!