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 by 70 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. Confess! is an interactive Web site that provides cervical cancer screening guidelines and a message board where women can post their craziest moments. For information on screening guidelines, click here.