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January is Cervical Health Awareness Month
January is Cervical Health Awareness Month. This awareness month, designated by the United States Congress, is a time to bring awareness about cervical cancer that can be preventable with a vaccine and regular testing. The Foundation for Women’s Cancer is recognizing the month by focusing on cervical cancer and human papillomavirus (HPV) awareness.
In 2018, more than 13,240 women will be diagnosed and 4,170 women will die from cervical cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. With these numbers in mind, the Foundation created a list of common questions and answers about cervical cancer and its connection with HPV. These questions are perfect to share with family and friends to help spread awareness about the disease and measures to prevent it. These questions are part of an awareness campaign to normalize the conversation about cervical cancer.
As said by cervical cancer survivor, Jennie Elms, “The more we talk about cervical cancer the more we overcome the sense of shame. No person deserves to get cancer for any reason at all.”
Below are the top nine questions about HPV and cervical cancer
HPV/ Cervical Cancer Top Questions and Answer
1. Is human papillomavirus (HPV) rare?
No. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a very common virus. An HPV infection causes cervical cancer. The HPV infection is present in 45 percent of men between the ages of 18 and 59. The HPV infection is present in 40 percent of women between the ages of 18 and 59. However, most people with HPV will not get cervical cancer.
2. Is cervical cancer a big deal?
Yes. More than 13,240 women will be diagnosed and 4,170 women will die from cervical cancer this year.
3. If you practice safe sex, will you get HPV?
The practice of safe sex will not necessarily protect someone from getting HPV since it can be spread through skin-to-skin contact. However, safe sex practices such as condom use are still encouraged.
4. I do not know anyone with HPV. Am I the only one?
No, you are not alone. The HPV infection is present in 45 percent of men between the ages of 18-and-59, and in 40 percent of women between the ages of 18-and-59.
5. Should I get a Pap smear or HPV test?
Yes. Women should get a Pap smear and a frequent HPV test to screen for HPV and precancerous changes on the cervix and vagina.
6. If you get an abnormal Pap smear or test result, do you need to follow up with your doctor?
Yes. If you get an abnormal Pap smear or test result, you should follow up with your doctor.
7. Does HPV cause any other cancers?
Yes. An HPV infection can cause vulvar, vaginal, penile, anal, mouth and throat cancer.
8. Can HPV cause infertility?
No. The HPV infection and vaccine does not cause infertility. The treatment for cervical cancer can cause infertility.
9. Since schools do not require the HPV vaccine, is it still necessary for boys and girls to receive the vaccine?
Yes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that girls and boys between 11 and 12 years of age should get two shots of the HPV vaccine six to 12 months apart.
The following question are available here. More information about cervical cancer is available on the Foundation’s website. The FWC will continue to share the information throughout the month on social media.
Register now for free gynecologic cancer course in Alaska!
Registration is open for the free Gynecologic Cancer Awareness & Arts of Healing Weekend filled with valuable information for patients and survivors on Feb. 3-4 in Anchorage, AK. The weekend includes an educational course, art showcase and a benefit concert.
The course on Saturday, Feb. 3, will take place from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with the medical community Continuing Medical Education (CME) portion from 1:00 to 4:30 p.m. The course on Sunday, Feb. 4, will take place from 8:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Register today and find out more about the weekend filled with awareness and healing. The course is provided through educational support from Let Every Woman Know-Alaska.