January is Cervical Health Month — So Women, Get Yourself Checked

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
January 19, 2010

MEDIA CONTACT:
Apoorva Stull
703-837-3687
apoorva.stull@preventcancer.org

ALEXANDRIA, VA — January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month and the Prevent Cancer Foundation wants to remind women to take preventive measures to reduce risk for this disease. Fortunately there are screening and prevention options that have helped reduce cervical cancer death rates by70 percent over the past 50 years, according to the American Cancer Society.

Most cases of cervical cancer are caused by the human papillomavirus or HPV, a virus that most people don’t even know they have because there are no symptoms. This virus is so common that over 80 percent of sexually active women will be exposed to it in their lifetimes. Because of the broad exposure, many women are at risk for developing the disease.

“There has been a lot of confusing information over the past few months about screening for women’s cancers, however there is one consistent message: Talk to your health care provider about your risk, and options for screening and prevention,” explains Anna Giuliano, Ph.D., Director of Cancer Prevention at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Prevent Cancer Foundation Medical Advisory Board member. “However, cervical cancer is preventable with an annual PAP test from your OB-GYN. Every woman should take that step and get screened- it can save their lives”

While advances in preventing cervical cancer are encouraging, many women are still suffering from this disease. According to the American Cancer Society, over 11,000 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer and over 4,000 women died of the disease in the United States in 2009.

These startling numbers prompted the Prevent Cancer Foundation to create a unique and interactive Web site that encourages women to “confess” their craziest moments while providing them with information about cervical cancer. With a grant from the Fund to Prevent Cervical Cancer, the Foundation created a fresh way to educate women about a serious health issue. Confess!  (http://confess.preventcancer.org) is an interactive Web site that provides cervical cancer screening guidelines and a message board where women can post their craziest moments.

There are now also vaccines approved in women and girls ages 9-26 to prevent HPV and in turn cervical cancer. The vaccine, administered as three shots over six months, prevents against the types of HPV that cause 70 percent of cervical cancers. If you would like additional information on cancer prevention, please visit the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s Web site at www.preventcancer.org.
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About The Prevent Cancer Foundation
The Prevent Cancer Foundation was founded in 1985. Today, it is one of the nation’s leading health organizations and has catapulted cancer prevention to prominence. Through healthy lifestyle choices, you can reduce your risk of breast, cervical, colorectal, lung, oral, prostate, skin and testicular cancers.

Since its inception the Prevent Cancer Foundation has provided more than $113 million in support of cancer prevention and early detection research, education and community outreach programs across the country. The Foundation’s peer-reviewed grants have been awarded to nearly 500 scientists from more than 150 of the leading academic medical centers nationwide. This research has been pivotal in developing a body of knowledge that is the basis for important cancer prevention and early detection strategies. For more information, please visit www.preventcancer.org.