As with any disease, awareness is key. But there are some diseases swept under the rug of public awareness because of the stigma enveloping them.
January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. It’s rarely spoken of except by those who have experienced it or known someone who has. But the stigma must be stopped, because this life-threatening cancer is more common than you may think, and prevention is key.
The facts, according to nccc-online.org:
- 90 percent of cervical cancers are associated with human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted disease.
- Women with more than one sexual partner are not the only ones susceptible to cervical cancer.
- HPV is extremely prevalent. Most women who are sexually active (even those who only have one partner) will contract it at some point in their lives.
How do we prevent it?
- Talk about it. Knowledge is power.
- Get regular pap tests.
- Get screened for HPV.
- Consider the HPV vaccine.
- Use protection if you are sexually active.
- Don’t smoke.
For more information, visit the National Cervical Cancer Coalition, or speak with your doctor.