The month of January is dedicated to cervical health awareness with the intention being to increase awareness about how women can prevent and detect cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer is largely preventable and curable when found early, which makes early detection most important. But the real key is prevention.
The FDA Website describes cervical cancer as the following:
Cervical cancer is cancer that forms in the cervix, the lower, narrow part of the uterus that connects with the vagina. It is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). In the U.S. in 2013, there were approximately 12,000 new cases of cervical cancer and 4,000 deaths, according to estimates by the National Cancer Institute.
Pap test (also known as Pap smear) and HPV test are two ways of detecting cervical cancer. This type of cancer is painless, which means a woman can have it and not know which makes testing that much more important.
Two vaccines have been approved by the FDA to prevent cervical cancer: Gardasil and Cervarix. The agency has determined that both vaccines are effective in preventing cervical cancer that is caused by the two types of high-risk HPV that causes about 70 percent of cervical cancers. But, to be effective, both vaccines must be given before infection with the HPV types that are contained in the vaccine.
For more information on HPV and general health issues that involve women, please visit here.