Get a Check-Up for Cervical Health Awareness Month January 2, 2015 By Cait Hartwyk Leave a Comment January does not just mark the start of a new year, but it is also Cervical Health Awareness Month. Sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control, the National Cervical Cancer Coalition, and many other organizations, Cervical Health Awareness Month hopes to raise awareness of this cancer and the diseases that can cause it and start conversations between women and their physicians that could help stop the spread of dangerous and potentially cancer causing diseases. The Month’s main focus is on HPV, or the Human papillomavirus, which more than half of sexually active men and women are infected with at some point in their lives. While most types of HPV will have an effect ranging from nothing to genital warts, other types can cause cervical lesions or even lead to cancer (in both men and women) if left untreated over a long period of time. According to the CDC, over 500,000 people contract cervical cancers each year. Of that number, an estimated 70% could have been prevented by use of the HPV vaccine. Current detection and prevention tools, alongside vaccination, can prevent most of the infections and deaths that come from cervical diseases and their related complications. Not unlike Breast Cancer Awareness month in October, CHAM hopes to remind women about the importance of regular health screenings alongside these other preventative measures. The National Cervical Cancer Coalition says that the majority of women diagnosed with cervical cancers either have never had a Pap test or did not have one in the five years leading up to their diagnosis, making regular Pap (and supplemental HPV) testing vitally important in diagnosing precancerous changes that could indicate an issue. If you have yet to receive an HPV vaccination, use January as a time to get protected and help avoid any problems in the future. With two vaccines currently on the market, getting vaccinated is a simple decision that could change your life. Every Thursday this month, look for a new blog series that addresses cervical health issues and provides health preserving tips. For more information on Cervical Health Awareness Month and what you can do to get involved, visit the National Cervical Cancer Coalition’s website. Do you know someone that beat cervical cancer or a related illness? Comment below or on our Facebook page about the experience.