January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month!

Cervical cancer affects nearly 250,000 women in the United States. Do you know your risks? | #CervicalHealth #WomensHealthCervical cancer affects nearly 250,000 women in the United States.

Do you know your risks?

What Is Cervical Cancer?

The cervix is the narrow end of the uterus. Cervical cancer happens if abnormal cells in the cervix grow uncontrollably.

Cervical cancer takes years to develop. It can be prevented if early changes in the cervix are found and treated.

The most common symptom of cervical cancer is abnormal bleeding.

Did You Know?

  • The best way to screen for cervical cancer is with a pap smear.
  • Cervical cancer is preventable if precancerous changes are detected and treated early.
  • Abnormal cells are usually caused by strains of a common sexually transmitted infection, human papilloma virus. (HPV)
  • Gardasil is a vaccination that can protect against the types of HPV infection that cause most cervical cancers (HPV types 16 and 18). Clinical trials and post-licensure monitoring data show that vaccines are safe.
 Knowledge is an important part of keeping yourself healthy. | #CervicalHealth #WomensHealth

Cervical cancer is easy to prevent, monitor, and treat. Know how to keep yourself safe and know what to look for.

  1. Starting at age 21, get your pap test. The American Cancer Society recently changed the guidelines to every 3-5 years depending on age, medical history, and sexual history. Know your risk factors and be diligent about these check ups. No insurance? Go to Planned Parenthood (or another similar women’s health clinic.) Lack of insurance is not an excuse. Many places offer sliding scales or payment options based on income. Your health is nothing to mess around with.
  2. Limit your number of sexual partners and use protection. Birth control pills or other non-barrier methods might protect you against pregnancy but they do not protect you from HPV.
  3. Get your HPV vaccination. HPV is the main cause for cervical cancer and is transmitted through sex. There is no test for males for HPV so they won’t know if they are carriers. {I am a health care professional and I am pro-vaccination. If you do not like that, I suggest you unfollow this blog.}
  4. What do you do if you find out you have abnormal cells? Follow your providers recommendations. Many times, HPV will resolve itself. Your provider might recommend a colposcopy to monitor cell changes or a LEEP procedure to remove abnormal cells. Supporting your immune system with Vitamin B and antioxidants is also a great tool. If you smoke, stop. Smoking increases the chance of getting cervical cancer in people who have high-risk types of HPV.
:: References ::
http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/Vaccines/HPV/Index.html
http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/pap-smear/basics/why-its-done/prc-20013038
http://www.plannedparenthood.org/
http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-info/womens-health/cervical-cancer
http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/colposcopy/basics/definition/prc-20014027
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cervical-cancer/expert-answers/cervical-cancer/faq-20057909

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