Cervical Health Awareness Month is a chance to raise awareness about how women can protect themselves from HPV (human papillomavirus) and cervical cancer. HPV is a very common infection that spreads through sexual activity, and it causes almost all cases of cervical cancer.
Nearly 13,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, but the disease is preventable with vaccination and appropriate screening (Pap and HPV tests).
About 79 million Americans currently have HPV. Many people with HPV don’t know they are infected. And each year, more than 11,000 women in the United States get cervical cancer.
The good news?
- The HPV vaccine (shots) can prevent HPV.
- Cervical cancer can often be prevented with regular screening tests and follow-up care.
Cervical cancer screenings can help detect abnormal (changed) cells early, before they turn into cancer. Most deaths from cervical cancer could be prevented by regular screenings and follow-up care.
How can Cervical Health Awareness Month make a difference?
We can use this opportunity to spread the word about important steps women can take to stay healthy.
Here are just a few ideas:
- Encourage women to get their well-woman visit this year.
- Let women know that most insurance plans must cover well-woman visits and cervical cancer screening. This means that, depending on their insurance, women can get these services at no cost to them.
- Talk to parents about how important it is for their pre-teens to get the HPV vaccine. Both boys and girls need the vaccine.