Cervical cancer is the second leading cancer affecting women worldwide. The U.S. congress has named January as the month for cervical cancer awareness. The NCCC (National Cervical Cancer Coalition) and its local chapters spread awareness about the disease and the importance of early detection. HPV or the Human Papillomavirus is the most common cause of cervical cancer and it is estimated that about 79 million Americans currently have HPV.
The January 2015 toolkit for cervical cancer awareness includes ideas such as:
- Adding information about HPV and cervical cancer prevention to your newsletter
- Tweeting about Cervical Health Awareness Month
- Hosting a community event to raise awareness about cervical health
The good news is that cervical cancer is almost always preventable with the Pap test (regular screening) and follow-up care, the HPV test, and the HPV vaccine.
The Pap test is one of the most reliable and effective cancer screening tests available. It looks for precancerous cell changes on the cervix that might become cervical cancer if they are not treated early. The Roche Cobas HPV test is a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved option to detect the human papillomavirus (HPV) in women 25 and older. This is a real-time PCR-based test from Roche Diagnostics with 16 primers that target a region on the L1 gene of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).
It is recommended that women begin getting regular PAP tests at age 21 and HPV vaccine before age 27. Parents should also make sure their pre-teens get the HPV vaccine at age 11 or 12 and men should get the HPV vaccine under age 22. Women must also remember to continue to have regular exams throughout their lives.