January is Cervical Health month
HAMBURG — The Sussex County Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Health, in collaboration with the Sussex Warren Chronic Disease Coalition, wants county residents to know that January is Cervical Health Awareness Month.
According to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition (NCCC), every year more than 13,000 women in the U.S. develop cervical cancer and about 4,000 women die from it. However, cervical cancer is one of the most successfully treatable and preventable cancers when found early.
When cancer starts in the cervix, it is called cervical cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that human papillomavirus (HPV) is the main cause of cervical cancer, often occurring most frequently in women over the age of 30. HPV is a common virus that is passed from one person to another during sexual activity. At least half of sexually active people will have HPV at some point in their lives, but few women will get cervical cancer.
Some additional risks for getting cervical cancer include: smoking, having HIV or another condition that makes it hard for your body to fight off health problems, using birth control pills for five or more years, having given birth to three or more children, and having several sexual partners.
There are ways to reduce your risk of developing cervical cancer. One preventative step is to have regular screening tests (called Pap tests), starting at age 21, and follow-up with your doctor. Another way to reduce risk is to get the HPV vaccine (shot) that may prevent HPV, starting at age 11 or 12.
Teens and young adults also need to get the HPV vaccine if they did not get it as pre-teens. Women up to age 26 and men up to age 21 can still get the vaccine.
For more information about cervical cancer and cervical health, visit the Sussex Warren Chronic Disease Coalition website at www.sussex.nj.us/sussexwarrencoalition. Additional information about cervical cancer and HPV can be found on the CDC’s website at https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/cervical.