As January comes to a close, we’d like to take this opportunity to highlight Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. While cervical cancer mortality rates have fallen drastically since the 1970s, when it was the leading cause of death for women, nearly 13,000 women are still diagnosed with cervical cancer every year. It’s essential that we recognize how far we’ve come and continue to make strides in reducing cervical cancer cases in the coming years.
The primary cause of the 50% decline in deaths from cervical cancer over the last 40 years is the increase in Pap tests. Pap tests involve scraping a sample of cells from the cervix, which are then tested for abnormalities or the HPV infection, which is the leading cause of cervical cancer. If abnormalities are found in a Pap smear, treatment can usually prevent cervical cancer before it even occurs. This is why it’s so crucial that women aged 21-65 have regular Pap tests.
Since HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancer, reducing HPV rates can also have a huge impact. That’s why the CDC recommends all boys and girls get the HPV vaccine as soon as they turn 11 or 12. If you’re interested in learning more about this groundbreaking new development, and the controversy surrounding its use, check out the CSC radio show HPV Vaccine: The Underutilized Cure.
For those of you living with cervical cancer or who are a caregiver to someone with cervical cancer, please explore our resources. You can start by going to our cervical cancer page, which lays out information about the disease and treatment options to help you make informed decisions. We also provide extensive support services online, over the phone, and in person at our local affiliates (one of our 3 CSCNT DFW clubhouses).
And whatever stage you’re at in your cancer journey, we encourage you to participate in our Cancer Experience Registry. The Registry is an online survey which helps us understand the biggest emotional, social, and financial issues facing people with cancer and their caregivers. We then use this information to improve our services and advocate for the importance of support services to policymakers and the public. By giving 20-40 minutes of your time you can help us ensure that no one faces cancer alone.
Thanks for following along with our blog. Next month, stay tuned as we cover National Cancer Prevention Month and other impactful issues in cancer.
Although the HPV vaccine is very effective in preventing many cases of cervical cancer, it is incredibly underutilized. Listen to CSC’s Frankly Speaking About Cancer radio episode about the reservations parents have about vaccinating their children.