by Fran Drescher from her Blog found at CancerSchmancer.org
We start off 2009 on the right foot by recognizing January as Cervical Health Awareness Month. And honey, thereвЂ™s nothing more important than your health!В Last year, over 11,000 women in the US were diagnosed with cervical cancer.В The good news is that with the proper screening tools and early detection, almost 100% of cervical cancer cases can be prevented. Over the last 50 years, routine PAP test screening has reduced cervical cancer deaths by 74% in the United States.
This month and every month, here are the ways to protect yourself:
- Learn about cervical cancerвЂ“ Education is key and what we donвЂ™t know is killing us! Learn about the risks and warning signs of cervical cancer and make sure all the women in your life are educated too. Make a list of questions for your physician before going to your gynecologic appointment so you are always in control of your body!
- Have a regular PAP test вЂ“ The PAP test is a simple and effective screening tool for cervical cancer. Women should begin having PAP tests and pelvic exams yearly at age 18 or within 3 years of the start of sexual activity, in addition to scheduled check-ups with their physicians.
- Minimize your risk of HPVвЂ“You can prevent most pre-cancerous cells of the cervix by avoiding exposure to HPV, a group of viruses commonly transmitted through sexual contact. Remember a person can have HPV without symptoms and pass it on without any knowledge – so ask for an HPV test at your next gynecologic exam.
- Be vaccinated вЂ“ The HPV vaccine is recommended for women ages 9-26 and protects against the virus that causes almost all cervical cancers and other less common genital cancers like cancers of the anus, vagina, and vulva. Vaccination plus routine PAP tests will be your best protection against cervical cancer.
Stop smoking вЂ“ Smoking truly affects all aspects of your health and should always be avoided.В When it comes to cervical cancer, the answer is no different.В Women who smoke are twice as likely to get cervical cancer.В So be a good mama to your lungs – theyвЂ™re trying to do a good job for you!
Five minutes is all it takes!
Through education, legislation, and social reform, the Cancer Schmancer Movement will alert our elected officials that the collective female vote is more powerful than that of the richest corporate lobbyist.
Five minutes is all it takes to raise your voice to ensure our government makes early cancer detection a priority.
Join the Cancer Schmancer Movement by going to Cancer Schmancer