Cervical Cancer Awareness Month
Cervical Cancer Awareness Month provides an opportunity for taking steps to increase awareness of this disease and helping women understand how to lower their risk of it. This includes spreading awareness of Human Papillomavirus (HPV), which is an infection that can increase the risk of cervical cancer.
What Is Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer is a disease that affects the cervix. During the early stages of this disease, there are usually no noticeable symptoms. As the disease becomes more serious, symptoms that might occur include vaginal bleeding that happens between periods or after having intercourse, pelvic pain and vaginal discharge that’s bloody and watery. Vaginal discharge might also have an unpleasant odor. Other symptoms include discomfort during intercourse and vaginal bleeding after going through menopause.
What Causes Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer develops when cells mutate and multiply at a rapid rate rather than a normal one. This causes tumors to form, and cancerous cells can also spread to other parts of the body. HPV is linked to cervical cancer, although the exact cause of this disease isn’t known. Keep in mind that your risk of having cervical cancer is higher if you have certain risk factors, such as having multiple sexual partners, engaging in sexual activity at an early age and having other types of sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia. Your risk is also higher if you have a weakened immune system or if you’re a smoker, since smoking has been linked to a certain type of cervical cancer.
One of the most effective ways to lower your risk of cervical cancer is to get an HPV vaccination. Girls and women between the ages of 9 and 26 can receive this vaccine. Women who are 21 and older should also have routine Pap tests, which are done in order to find early signs of cervical cancer or precancerous conditions that could lead to cancer. Routine Pap tests should be done every few years or more often if your risk of cervical cancer is higher. Other ways to lower your risk of cervical cancer include giving up smoking and practicing safe sex, such as using a condom.
Ways to Get Involved
There are a few ways for you to get involved and help raise awareness during Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. This includes handing out information about cervical cancer and HPV from the CDC to others. You can also arrange to give presentations to local groups or organizations to help women understand this disease and how to prevent it. If you have social media accounts, such as Twitter and Facebook, you can post or share information about cervical cancer. Keep in mind that you can also change your profile picture to a Cervical Cancer Ribbon.
If you are due for a cervical cancer screening, please contact Neighborhood Radiology Services to make an appointment. We provide high-quality screenings and other services for patients in the Greater New York Metropolitan Area.