Last year, the American Cancer Society reported nearly 1,685,210 new cases of cancer, excluding certain types of skin cancer. That means that in the U.S. alone, nearly two million people developed one of many different types of cancers in 2016. As that number is expected to progress this year, it becomes increasingly important for all of us to take preventative measures – especially for women.
In particular, cervical cancer poses a formidable threat to women, attacking 13,000 females of the U.S. population annually. According to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition, about 99% of all cases of cervical cancer stem from contraction of the Human Papillomavirus, or HPV, which is the most widespread STD in the country. What you may not have realized, however, is that HPV – and in turn, cervical cancer – are highly preventable. So why do we continue putting ourselves in potentially life-threatening situations?
This month, in honor of National Cervical Health Awareness Month, take the time to reevaluate your own cervical health and encourage your loved ones to do the same. Cervical cancer not only causes pain and requires intensive medical care, it can also be extremely detrimental to your fertility.
Here’s what you can do:
Schedule your well-woman visit, and encourage your friends to do the same
Most health insurance plans cover well-woman visits, also known as annual physicals. These will give you an overview of your health from head to toe, including your heart condition, cholesterol, and the state of your cervix. Not on health insurance or can’t afford a visit? The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program can help.
Talk to your friends with children about the HPV vaccine
Both boys and girls can benefit from the HPV vaccine, which is administered to them in their teenage years. One simple round of vaccinations can help prevent a lifetime of health issues and infertility. Encourage your parent-friends to learn more about the injections.
Spread awareness on social media
Social media pages like Facebook and Twitter make it so easy to spread the message worldwide. Share one of these messages from the National Cervical Cancer Coalition with your friends and family.
Through awareness and education, we can help put a dent in the number of people diagnosed with cervical cancer each year. Protect your fertility and that of the next generations by working to promote cervical health. Together, we can help end at least one strain of cancer.