The American Social Health Association (ASHA) wants to encourage you to get tested this month – January – or do it in your birthday month so you’ll remember!
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has estimated that every year in the U.S alone there are 12,000 cases of Cervical Cancer; 4,200 of those cases result in death. Those are sad and tragic numbers that can be lowered!
Cervical Cancer can be caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is a sexually transmitted infection. Any genital-to-genital touching can put you at risk for contracting HPV; it does not require sexual intercourse.
So how do you reduce your risk? If you are between the ages of 9 and 26, vaccination is a great way to start. HPV vaccines help prevent infection with the two types of HPV associated with 70% of all cervical cancers.
Another way to reduce your risk of contracting cervical cancer is get a Pap or HPV test. Starting at age 21, women can begin Pap tests. Women aged 21-30 should receive a Pap test every 2 years. In women 30 and over, both an HPV test and a Pap test may be recommended. Women in this age group should get the Pap test every 2-3 years if they have a history of 3 negative Pap tests. The HPV Test is recommended no more frequently than every 3 years if the HPV test is negative. The tests are quick and simple, so why not go? (And even if you’ve been vaccinated, you still need to get tested. HPV vaccines don’t protect against all types of HPV.)
Not having health insurance or not being able to afford the tests is no longer an issue. Contact the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program for help. You can find out more facts about HPV and Cervical cancer by visiting ASHA’s website or the CDC’s Cervical Cancer Fact Sheet.
We all know those visits to the doctor are uncomfortable and no one really wants to go. Sometimes the small talk with the doctor is the worst, after the appointment you think, “Why did I say that??” But in reality it is 20 minutes, afterward you go out with your girlfriends and you all complain about how much you hate those appointments. Think about it, going to those appointments and having complaint time with friends afterwards is much better then crying with your friends about having cervical cancer, or worse yet, not being here to complain with your friends at all.
Don’t be part of the 12,000 women in the U.S. diagnosed this year. Go get tested!