Singer-songwriter, actress and PSI Ambassador
Posted: February 1, 2011 09:12 AM
Accidents are the number one cause of deaths for young women. Number two? Cancer deaths. And cervical cancer, in particular. In my role as an “ambassador” for the Stand Up To Cancer initiative, I’ve learned about the disease, and was stunned by the numbers: every 47 minutes, a woman in the United States is diagnosed with cervical cancer. Does this statistic shock you? It should.
In 2010 alone, there were an estimated 12,000 new cases. You, or I; or a best friend, sister, daughter, or mother could be vulnerable. The disease is almost always caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, so doctors have a better handle on diagnosis and treatments then they do for some other cancers. Experts, like Dr. Andrea Myers from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, tell us that prevention and early diagnosis are key weapons in the fight against cervical cancer, so ladies, please make sure you are up-to-date on all your annual exams, especially Pap smears.
Dr. Myers writes in a recent blog, “Though cervical cancer remains a leading cancer killer of women globally, there has been a 75 percent reduction in cervical cancer mortality in the United States, due primarily to the implementation of Papanicolaou (Pap) smears. From this screening, we are able to diagnose cancers earlier and treat them before they become too aggressive to cure.”
Education could be the difference between life and death for young women. Be proactive; don’t wait for your doctor to raise the topic with you. Ask him or her all of your questions: how one contracts HPV; and about its complications and the increased risk for cervical cancer associated with it. Cervical cancer is more common in women who don’t have regular Pap tests, so be sure to get tested. Inquire about the HPV vaccination to decide what’s right for you, and importantly, if you have young daughters, especially between the ages of 9-15, what’s best for them.
The connection between HPV and cervical cancer was confirmed only a few decades ago. Its discovery led to the development of the vaccines, which have had major implications in the fight against this disease. That’s a great example of just the type of “translational” research for which SU2C raises funds.
Read the comments….
The National Cancer Institute has not established a link between HPV and cervical cancer…..just more propaganda….
The American Cancer Society lists cervical cancer as the 12th cause of death.