Make the Connection
- Kicks Off Nationwide Cervical Cancer Awareness Campaign
September 30, 2005/Tampa, FL/FPSnewswire/ - "Cervical cancer is linked
to a common virus, but so few women know it or what they can do about
it." That's the message actress JoAnna Garcia, best known for her
starring role on WB's hit TV series Reba, will bring to Tampa on
Friday, September 30, 4:00 - 6:00 pm, at Tampa's International Plaza
shopping center. Garcia and Dr. Anna Giuliano, from the H. Lee Moffitt
Cancer Center & Research Institute, will be at International Plaza to
talk about cervical cancer and also invite participants to share in a
productive Make the Connection beading activity. Participants will be
able to bead their own bracelets to show their support for cervical
cancer education. Both Garcia and Giuliano are supporting the Make the
Connection campaign to raise awareness about cervical cancer and its
cause, a common virus called human papillomavirus, or HPV.
Make the Connection is a public education campaign sponsored by the
Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation (CRPF) and Step Up Women's
Network, with support from Merck & Co., Inc., to raise awareness and
understanding of cervical cancer, its cause and the importance of
preventive screening through Pap tests. Worldwide, cervical cancer is
diagnosed in about 500,000 women each year and responsible for more
than 280,000 deaths. In the United States, about 10,000 women will
develop cervical cancer this year and about 3,000 will die from this
The campaign urges women to "make the connection" between cervical
cancer and HPV. Despite the fact that approximately eight of 10
sexually active women will be infected by HPV in their lifetimes, 76
percent (3,432 respondents nationwide) of women who participated in a
2005 nationwide survey conducted by the campaign partners did not know
that cervical cancer is caused by the virus. The awareness level was
very similar locally, with 75 percent (144 respondents) of women
residing in Florida who participated in the survey who did not know
cervical cancer is caused by the virus.
"I was part of the majority of women who didn't know about the
connection between cervical cancer and HPV," said Garcia, who has also
appeared in Not Another Teen Movie, Dawson's Creek, Boston Public and
Party of Five, and is now one of several celebrities participating in
Make the Connection. "The value of this campaign is that it not only
educates women in a very positive, empowering way, but also encourages
them to connect with other women in an effort to beat cervical cancer."
"The survey results released today really highlight the lack of basic
understanding that many women have about cervical cancer," said Dr.
Giuliano. "Women should know the cause of cervical cancer and the fact
that it often can be prevented if they are screened regularly with Pap
tests, a standard part of most gynecologic exams."
"Through this campaign, we will provide women with information about
cervical cancer, HPV and the importance of regular Pap screening,"
added Carolyn Aldigé, Founder and President of the Cancer Research and
Making the Connection
A key element of the campaign is the Make the Connection bead, part of
a create-it-yourself bracelet kit that will help raise cervical cancer
awareness. MMake the Connection bracelet kits are available free
through the campaign's web site and toll-free line -
www.maketheconnection.org and 888-4-HPV-CONNECT - and also at Make the
Connection beading events across the country. Everyone who orders the
free Make the Connection bracelet kit will get two kits, so she can
invite someone to join her in showing support against cervical cancer.
The beading events will bring women and girls together to bead, talk
about cervical cancer and meet the young actresses who are part of the
campaign: in addition to JoAnna Garcia, America Ferrera (Lords of
Dogtown, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Real Woman Have
Curves) and Beverley Mitchell (7th Heaven, The Crow: City of Angels,
Baywatch, Melrose Place, Right on Track). Locations and dates for all
the Make the Connection beading events can be found on
About Cervical Cancer and Human Papillomavirus
Cervical cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death among
women worldwide. All cervical cancers are caused by some type of human
papillomavirus (HPV), a common virus that spreads through intimate
contact and infects approximately 6 million people annually in the
United States alone. Infection with the "high-risk" HPV types 16 and
18 is responsible for more than two-thirds of all cervical cancers.
Although a person's immune system usually clears HPV on its own, there
is no cure for HPV infection. In addition to the cancer-causing
high-risk HPV types, infection with low-risk types can lead to other
non-cancerous cervical lesions.
Pap screening, a simple test conducted in doctors' offices or clinics
to detect changes in the cells in and around the cervix, is one of the
most effective ways to prevent cervical cancer. Women should talk to
their healthcare providers to schedule regular Pap testing, and
discuss results with them.
For more information on cervical cancer, HPV and the Make the
Connection campaign, visit www.maketheconnection.org, or call
About the Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation
The Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation was started in 1985 when
Founder and President Carolyn Aldigé first understood the power of
prevention to defeat cancer - and recognized that too few of the
country's resources were used to promote cancer prevention research or
education. Today, it is one of the nation's leading health
organizations and has catapulted cancer prevention to prominence.
Since its inception, the Foundation has provided more than $74 million
in support of cancer prevention and early detection research and
education programs. CRPF peer-reviewed grants have been awarded to
more than 250 scientists from more than 150 of the leading academic
medical centers nationwide. This research has been pivotal in
developing a body of knowledge that is the basis for important cancer
prevention and early detection strategies.
About Step Up Women's Network
Founded in 1998, Step Up Women's Network is a nonprofit, membership
organization dedicated to strengthening community resources for women
and girls. Through hands-on community service, mentoring and
fundraising for women's health and critical issues, we educate and
activate our membership to ensure that women and girls have the tools
they need to create a better future.
About Merck & Co., Inc.
Merck & Co., Inc. is a global research-driven pharmaceutical company
dedicated to putting patients first. Established in 1891, Merck
discovers, develops, manufactures and markets vaccines and medicines
in more than 20 therapeutic categories. The company devotes extensive
efforts to increase access to medicines through far-reaching programs
that not only donate Merck medicines but help deliver them to the
people who need them. Merck also publishes unbiased health information
as a not-for-profit service. For more information, visit www.merck.com.
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