Health Talk: January Is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

SAN ANTONIO — January is cervical cancer awareness month. The month is dedicated to educating the community about the risks and how to prevent it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the death rate has dropped significantly in the past 40 years due to more women getting screened. But the CDC found that more than half of new cases happen among women who have never or rarely been screened.  

“It’s not like you're going to feel kind of lousy or bad in the beginning of it. By the time cervical cancer has symptoms, it's almost too late. You’re talking about a third or fourth stage,” warned Dr. Jose Farina of Children’s Hospital of San Antonio-CHRISTUS Health. 

Early detection is key. Women who are 21 years and up should get regular pap smears and get tested for human papillomavirus. There are several strains of HPV. Some cause cancerous cells to develop on the cervix and others can cause genital warts. Sexual contact is the only way to get HPV.

“We know that young people, those that are under 21 that acquire the virus, seem to get rid of it pretty easily,” Farina said.

One of the best ways to protect yourself is to get a vaccine. The Food and Drug Administration approved the HPV vaccine for people up to 45 years of age. Dr. Farina encourages men and children, 9 years and up, to get it too. Men can get penile and anal cancer from HPV.

“This is a great time of year to talk to your loved ones and physician about cervical cancer. If you have not already, consider getting an HPV vaccination to eliminate your risk or talk with your doctor about getting screened,” Farina said. “The best steps you can take are to get vaccinated, and get screened so you can take control of your health.”

 

Source : https://www.kens5.com/article/news/the-month-is-dedicated-to-educating-the-community-about-the-risks-and-how-to-prevent-it/273-36b359c6-0923-4f0f-8aef-e3b74d72993c

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