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January is Cervical Health Awareness Month

Categories: Foundation News

More than 13,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, but most cases are now preventable with HPV vaccination and appropriate screening. During Cervical Health Awareness Month, we encourage you to take some time to learn about cervical cancer risk and prevention, and help us spread awareness by sharing the educational social media posts we’ve published throughout the month.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is human papillomavirus (HPV) rare? No, HPV is a very common virus. The HPV infection is present in 45 percent of men between the ages of 18 and 59, and 40 percent of women between the ages of 18 and 59. While an HPV infection can cause cervical cancer, most people with HPV will not get cervical cancer.

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. The frequency of the tests and types of tests will be determined by your age, special risks or circumstances and are available in special guidelines that your provider will know.

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. Read More.

2019 State of Gynecologic Cancers

Many patients are not aware the gynecologic oncology specialty exists. They may instead seek treatment with an OB-GYN or medical oncologist when faced with a gynecologic cancer-related issue. But studies show that women who are treated initially by a care team headed by a gynecologic oncologist experience better outcomes.

The Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO) is the premier medical specialty society for health care professionals trained in the comprehensive management of gynecologic cancers. The SGO has been at the forefront of advancing this specialty since it was founded in 1969. The Foundation for Women’s Cancer (FWC), the official foundation of the SGO, supports the mission to eradicate gynecologic cancer through awareness, research and education.

As we celebrate the SGO’s 50th anniversary, the FWC felt it was an important time to take a look at recent, significant advances made in the prevention, detection and treatment of gynecologic cancers. Read More.

Surviving and Giving Back

A routine Pap exam in 2004 was the beginning of a fifteen-year cancer journey for Linda Ryan, cervical cancer survivor.

At age 36, Linda was initially diagnosed with stage 0 adenocarcinoma in situ (AIS), a condition where abnormal cells are found in the glandular tissue that line certain internal organs, such as—and most commonly—the cervix. The first cervical cancer recurrence happened in 2011 when Linda was 43, and she participated in a phase two clinical trial at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Linda’s second recurrence occurred in 2016 at age 48 and required twenty-eight rounds of radiation and weekly doses of cisplatin, a chemotherapy drug. Read More.

Survivorship Toolkit

This toolkit provides convenient resources to help you organize information about diagnosis, treatment and long-term follow-up. Highlights include:

  • Treatment Summary and Survivorship Care Plans (specific to the type of cancer): Summarizes treatment, lists possible side effects and includes a follow-up care plan
  • Wellness and Preventive Health: Provides resources for maintaining a healthy lifestyle
  • Survivorship Calendar: Tracks appointments and care team contact information

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and scheduling routine examinations are key to fighting recurrence. These tools can be used in conjunction with information provided by your physician or care team. Download the toolkit today.