The United States Congress designated January as Cervical Health Awareness Month, a time to focus on what was once one of the most common causes of cancer death among women. The good news is that we are making progress in the fight against cervical cancer. Over the last 30 years, the cervical cancer death rate has gone down by more than 50 percent, thanks to improved screening and improved prevention. Increased awareness can help this progress to continue.
Cervical Cancer – the Facts
· Some types of human papillomavirus (HPV) can cause genital warts, while other types are linked to cervical cell changes that can increase a woman’s risk for cervical cancer. (National Cervical Cancer Coalition)
· Most sexually active individuals have HPV at some point. At any time, there are approximately 79 million people in the U.S. with HPV. (National Cervical Cancer Coalition)
· The CDC recommends that children should receive the HPV vaccine at age 11 or 12, but vaccination is available through age 26. (National Cervical Cancer Coalition)
· Cervical cancer tends to occur in midlife. Most cases are found in women younger than 50. It rarely develops in women younger than 20. (American Cancer Society)
· A well-proven way to prevent cervical cancer is to screen for pre-cancers before they can turn into invasive cancer. The Pap test (or Pap smear) and the HPV test are used for this. Most invasive cervical cancers are found in women who have not had regular Pap tests. (American Cancer Society)
Cervical Health Resources
If you or someone you love is facing cervical cancer, there are resources and support available. The American Cancer Society offers a variety of programs and services to women diagnosed with cervical cancer, including:
Call the National Cancer Information Center at 1-800-227-2345 to learn more or for referrals to other national and local programs.
If you are facing an HPV, genital warts, or other cervical health diagnosis, your doctor may prescribe a prescription medication as part of your treatment. Before you visit the pharmacy, make sure you have the Free FamilyWize Prescription Discount Card in your wallet (or app on your phone). Quick and easy to use, the FamilyWize Prescription Discount Card has helped over 10 million people nationwide save more than $1 billion on their prescription medications.
Interested in spreading the word this January? Check out these social media posts from the National Cervical Cancer Coalition.
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