01. What is Cervical Cancer?

Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in the cervix, the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. It is often caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), a common sexually transmitted infection. Cervical cancer typically develops slowly over time.

02. Prevention is Key

HPV Vaccination: Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a common virus that can lead to cervical cancer. Getting the HPV vaccine before any exposure to the virus significantly lowers the risk of cervical cancer. It's usually given around the age of 11 or 12, but it can be administered up to age 26. 

Practice Safe Sex: Consistent and correct use of condoms helps protect against HPV and lowers the risk of sexually transmitted infections.

Limit Sexual Partners: Fewer sexual partners reduce the risk of HPV exposure, emphasizing the importance of responsible sexual behavior.
Quit Smoking: Quitting smoking lowers the risk of cervical cancer, underlining the importance of smoking cessation.
Regular Screenings Matter: Prioritize regular health checkups, including Pap smears and HPV testing, for early detection and intervention.

03. Screening

Regular Checkups: Prioritize Your Health
Women should start screening with the Pap test at age 21. (Screening is not recommended for women under age 21.)
Starting at age 30, women have three options available for screening:
-A Pap test alone every three years
-Co-testing with a Pap and HPV test, every five years
-An HPV test alone, every five year

04. Know the Symptoms: Early Detection Saves Lives

Early detection of cervical cancer increases the chances of successful treatment. Be aware of the following symptoms:
Irregular Bleeding: Pay attention to bleeding between menstrual periods, after sex, or after menopause.
Pelvic Pain: Persistent pain in the pelvis or during intercourse should be reported to a healthcare provider.
Unusual Discharge: Be aware of unusual vaginal discharge, especially if it's foul-smelling or contains blood.
Individuals experiencing concerning symptoms or with questions about reproductive health should consult with a healthcare professional.

05. Addressing Barriers

Inadequate Screening and Limited Access in Cervical Health
In many public health care settings, the challenge of inadequate screening persists, limiting the early detection of cervical health issues. Additionally, there are concerns about restricted access to standard treatments, hindering timely intervention. These challenges underscore the importance of advocating for improved healthcare infrastructure, comprehensive screening programs, and equitable access to standard treatments for everyone. 

06. Raising Awareness

Spread the Word: Raise Awareness Together
Share this valuable information with friends, family, and neighbors. By fostering open conversations, we contribute to a community that prioritizes health and well-being.
Your health is a shared responsibility, and together, we can build a healthier and more informed community.

07. Donate

Non-Profit Organizations That Support Our Mission:
Foundation for Women's Cancer:
To bring together all communities of advocates, patients, caregivers, partners and the healthcare team to eradicate or lessen the impact of gynecologic cancer. We will achieve this through research, education and public awareness.
Cervical Cancer Foundation:
Our mission is to increase awareness about Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and provide clinical services towards the detection and prevention of cervical cancer in Georgia and around the world. We seek to do this through culturally appropriate and innovative education programs suitable for clinical, school-based and family settings. We seek to eliminate the disparities in the prevalence of cervical cancer and other HPV-related cancers among low resource communities.
International Gynecologic Cancer Society:
Our mission is to enhance the care of those affected by gynecologic cancers worldwide through education and training and public awareness.
Find free/Low cost Pap testing:

08. In Conclusion:

In conclusion, Cervical Health Awareness Month serves as a reminder of the importance of understanding, preventing, and detecting cervical cancer. Prevention through HPV vaccination, safe sex practices, and responsible behavior is key, along with regular screenings from age 21 and awareness of early symptoms. Addressing barriers and advocating for improved healthcare is essential. By allowing open conversations, raising awareness, and supporting organizations dedicated to cervical health, we can collectively contribute to building a healthier and more informed community. 
As we step into this new year, I want to express my gratitude for your engagement and support. Thank you for being a part of this journey, and I can't wait to share these new endeavors with you. Here's to a year of growth (non-cancerous), learning, and positive change!
Best Wishes & Happy New Year, 
December 31, 2023 — Stephanie Martin

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