What better time to educate women on cervical health than in January, also known as Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. Although it may not seem this way, statistics state that in the year 2020 nearly 605,000 women globally were diagnosed with cervical cancer, and just under 342,000 of these women passed away. There was even a time when cervical cancer was the most common cause of death for women from cancer (World Health Organization, 2022). However, the development of the Pap Smear Test, is what changed this notion and gave women the ability to gain more control over their cervical health. Although new tests and prevention measures lowered these numbers women are still dying from cervical cancer. Here are three things that you can do for yourself and others to play a part in lowering these statistics:
If you are a mother or under the age of 26 ensure that you receive the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States, it is also directly related to cervical cancer, more than 95% of cervical cancer cases are caused by HPV (World Health Organization, 2022). Even if you are over the age to receive the vaccine, you can still educate those around you.
Women who are over the age of 21 are able to get a Pap smear and HPV test to help determine if they are at risk for cervical cancer. Although it is a cancer, cervical cancer has little to no symptoms in its initial stages making it almost impossible to know if you have it without getting these tests. Both tests are easily performed and do not have any long winded side effects (Xible, 2020). The upside to cervical cancer, if any, is that upon early detection it is one of the easiest cancers to treat.
Lastly, make sure that you are staying educated and educating others on the importance of cervical health. If applicable make sure you are getting the tests performed yearly, keep your loved ones up to date on their tests, and keep asking questions if there are any aspects of your cervical health and cancer that you do not understand.
World Health Organization. (2022). Cervical cancer. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cervical-cancer
Xible, J. (2020). January is cervical health awareness month. https://www.challiance.org/get-healthy/healthy-now-blog/healthy-now-blog/2020/01/january-is-cervical-health-awareness-month