January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, and now, thanks to cervical cancer screening and HPV vaccinations it is the most preventable of all female cancers. The human papillomavirus virus (HPV) is the leading cause of cervical cancer in women. Approximately 79 million people, most in their late teens and early 20s, are currently infected with HPV, and an additional 14 million are estimated to be infected each year – a convincing reason to protect preteens and teens early through vaccination.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends HPV vaccination for 11- and 12-year-old girls and boys, as well as for young women ages 13 through 26 and young men ages 13 through 21 who have not yet been vaccinated.
Knowing if you are a carrier of HPV, testing is required and easy to do during routine PAP procedures. If you haven’t been vaccinated and contract HPV, regular cervical exams can help you and your doctor stay on top of any changes that may occur in the cervix caused by HPV.
CDC estimates that increasing HPV vaccination rates from current levels to 80 percent would prevent an additional 53,000 future cervical cancer cases in the United States among girls who now are 12 years old or younger over the course of their lifetimes.
Brighter Beginnings is helping to increase HPV vaccination rates and lower cervical cancer rates by offering vaccines and testing. Protect yourself and any pre-teen/teens in your household by scheduling an appointment at one of our clinics to receive the HPV vaccine and/or schedule a routine cervical exam for testing.