January is Cervical Cancer Month: What You Need to Know

Cancer in all its forms is a disease that must be fought against collectively by communities across the world. This month, the National Health Organization recognizes cervical health awareness in an effort to prevent a form of cancer that affects over 10,000 women in the U.S. every year.

About cervical cancer

Cervical cancer is caused by an excess growth of cells in the cervix, the lower region of a woman’s uterus. Most cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed in women between the ages of 20 and 50, but 1 out of every 5 cases is diagnosed in women older than 65. In the U.S., Hispanic, African-American and American Indian women are most likely to get the disease.

Although it is mostly preventable with proper testing and vaccinations, cervical cancer is still a lethal and serious disease. In 2017, the National Cervical Cancer Coalition (NCCC) predicts that over 4,000 women will die from cervical cancer.

What can you do to help fight cervical cancer?

This year the NCCC is helping to spread cervical cancer awareness on social media using the hashtag #CervicalHealth. You can also donate to the NCCC on their website, or read more about it from the American Cancer Society.

The most important step is to encourage the women in your life to get tested for cancer early. The Foundation for Women’s Cancer lists two important steps to preventing cervical cancer:

  • Vaccinate early: a majority of cases of cervical cancer are caused by the presence of the human papillomavirus (HPV). A vaccine for this virus was developed in 2006.
  • Screen with pap smears and HPV tests at least every three years.

With the right knowledge and prevention measures, it is possible to drastically reduce the presence of this serious women’s health disease. The American Inn of Bethesda is proud to partner with the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and others in our community to help raise awareness and fight the spread of cancer.