Raising Cervical Cancer Awareness
January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, a great time to educate women about how they can take steps to protect themselves against cervical cancer and human papillomavirus (HPV), an extremely common sexually transmitted infection that causes nearly all cases of cervical cancer. In 2017, there were an estimated 12,820 new cases of cervical cancer in the United States and approximately 4,210 cervical cancer deaths.
The good news is that, thanks to HPV vaccines and cervical cancer screenings, cervical cancer can often be prevented. HPV vaccines provide strong protection against HPV infection, and routine cervical screenings have significantly cut the number of cervical cancer cases and deaths.
Health Edco provides a variety of educational resources that help women understand the importance of taking charge of their cervical health. Here are a few prime examples that are perfect for health fairs, classrooms, or school or women’s health clinics:
Pap Tests, Cervical Cancer, and HPV Folding Display
Providing essential information in easy-to-understand terms, this display is perfect to present the essentials about HPV and cervical cancer screening. Simple text and clear graphics explain the connection between HPV and cervical cancer in a conversational, non-threatening way. The display also discusses regular Pap tests, HPV testing, and HPV vaccines for young people.
See for Yourself: Pap Tests Easel Display
With this easel display, 3-D models reveal how Pap tests can save a woman’s life. Six handpainted models accurately depict a normal cervix, a cervix with a benign tumor, carcinoma in situ, early noninvasive cancer, early invasive cancer, and advanced invasive cancer. Informative text explains the importance of Pap tests and HPV testing to detect precancerous conditions and help prevent cervical cancer.
Feel for Yourself … Cervix Conditions Display
If seeing is believing, feeling is truly understanding, as this interactive display reveals. Five models made of lifelike synthetic material accurately depict a normal cervix, a cervix with a benign polyp, a cervix with early noninvasive cancer, a cervix with early stage cancer, and a cervix with later stage invasive cancer. Informative background text encourages women beginning at age 21 to talk to their healthcare professional about an appropriate schedule for cervical cancer screening. Passing around the models is a perfect icebreaker to open conversations about the importance of cervical cancer screening.
- Getting vaccinated against HPV. It is recommended that young women (through age 26) get vaccinated against HPV. HPV vaccination is recommended for both preteen girls and boys at age 11 or 12. In addition to cervical cancer, HPV can cause cancer of the vulva and vagina in women, cancer of the penis in men, and anal and mouth and throat cancers in both men and women, as well as genital warts. In addition, having young men vaccinated against HPV can help reduce the spread of the virus to women.
- Following the screening schedule for cervical cancer as recommended by their healthcare professional. Screening exams include Pap tests and HPV testing.
- Not Smoking. Among women with HPV infection, smokers are more likely to develop cervical cancer than nonsmokers.
- Using a barrier method for birth control. HPV is spread through sexual activity, and using a barrier method (such as a male latex condom, female condom, or diaphragm) during sex offers some—but not complete—protection. Women who practice abstinence have almost no risk of cervical cancer.
Remember: Regular screenings for cervical cancer and follow-up care can prevent most deaths from cervical cancer.