Cervical Cancer was once a deadly diagnosis. Now, with better screening, changes in the cervix are being found before cancer develops. Screening can also find cervical cancer early, in its most curable stage. This is good news for women everywhere. Knowledge is power, and getting the word out is the best defense against cervical cancer.
Cervical Cancer Awareness Month is an opportunity to raise awareness about how women can protect themselves from HPV and cervical cancer. HPV is a common infection that spreads through sexual activity and is a major cause of cervical cancer. HPV vaccinations are recommended for children at the age of 12, before ever being exposed to the virus.
In addition to the HPV vaccination, all women should have yearly well-visits to the gynecologist. Routine PAP smears and exams will alert the doctor to changes in the cervix before they turn into cervical cancer. If left undetected, abnormal cells can turn into cancer without warning. Most women will not notice changes unless the cancer has become advanced or has metastasized.
If you have been treated for cervical cancer, the cancer may be gone completely or you may have to get regular treatments with chemo or radiation to keep the cancer in check. Learning to live with uncertainty and possible recurrence is stressful and difficult. As you figure out the plan for your physical recovery with regular check-ups, don’t forget about your emotional health. You are not alone. More than 12,000 women in the United States have been diagnosed. There is support waiting for you. There is hope after cervical cancer.