January Is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

To prevent a woman from developing cancer means protecting an engineer, an artist, a businesswoman, a mother, a daughter, a teacher, a colleague — a valuable human being. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2012 (the most recent year for which statistics are available) 12,042 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer in the United States and 4,074 women died from it. Cervical Health Awareness Month is a chance to raise awareness about human papillomavirus (HPV) and its relationship to cervical cancer in women and other cancers in both women and men. About 79,000,000 Americans have HPV and many don’t know they are infected.

Two of the best ways to prevent cervical cancer are to encourage the women in your life to regularly undergo the following screenings: a Pap test to detect pre-cancerous tissue and cell changes on the cervix that may become cervical cancer if not treated correctly. Women should start getting Pap tests at 21 years of age. The second screening is an HPV test, which looks for the virus that can cause cell changes. A third preventive measure that many are considering is getting the HPV vaccine, which both women and men can get to prevent spreading the virus.

Review These Facts:

  • HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease; it is also a major cause of cervical cancer.
  • HPV can be prevented with the HPV vaccine and detected early with the HPV test.
  • Pap tests can help detect abnormal (changed) cells early, before they turn into cancer.
  • Most deaths from cervical cancer could be prevented by regular Pap tests and follow-up care.

Cervical Cancer Prevention in the Workplace

  • Encourage female co-workers to get a well-woman visit this year. Post fliers, send out emails or host an informal meeting with helpful information about cervical cancer prevention.
  • Let colleagues know the health care reform law covers well-woman visits and cervical cancer screenings. This means, depending on their insurance, women can likely get these services at no cost to them.
  • Provide information about the HPV vaccine to parents in your workplace who have preteens.
  • Host an on-site charity healthy bake sale – whether you sell something savory or sweet, special treats in the workplace are sure to be a hit. Donate the bake sale profits to a cervical cancer charity of your choice. Alternatively, your company could have a healthy snack bar sale where you sell yummy snack packs instead of baked goods.
  • Have a Cervical Cancer Awareness Party – give employees the option to wear teal and white (the cervical cancer awareness colors). Partner with local groups, like cancer networks and community health clinics, and invite them to speak at your event. Give employees the option to make a small donation to a cervical cancer charity of your choice. What’s better than a party with a purpose?
  • Include cervical cancer awareness prevention facts in your company’s monthly newsletter.
  • Host a cervical cancer awareness luncheon. Set up a self-serve salad bar and soup or sandwiches. Charge employees a small fee to attend the lunch and donate all profits to charity.

Click here to find an early detection screening provider near you.