Pin., Cervical Cancer Awareness Month
- From: Jeannine_Mallory@...Subject: Pinellas County Health Dept - CERVICAL CANCER AWARENESS MONTH
Friday, January 05, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jeannine Mallory, Public Information Officer
PINELLAS COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT
727-824-6908 (media only)
January is Cervical Cancer Prevention Month
Get tested & know the risk factors
Cervical cancer begins in the lining of the cervix. This cancer does not form suddenly. First, cells begin to change from normal to pre-cancer and then to cancer. This can take a number of years, although it can happen more quickly. For some women, these changes go away without any treatment. Others need treatment to keep them from changing into true cancers.
Several risk factors increase a womans chance of getting cervical cancer. For cervical cancer, the most important risk factor is infection with HPV (human papilloma virus). HPV is passed from one person to another during sex. Often HPV infection goes away on its own without treatment.
Even though HPV is a risk factor for cervical cancer, most women with HPV dont get cervical cancer. Other factors must exist for this cancer to develop. Some of these risk factors are listed below.
§ Smoking: Women who smoke are about twice as likely as those who dont smoke to get cervical cancer.
§ HIV infection: HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. Being HIV positive makes a woman's immune system less able to fight both HPV and early cancers.
§ Chlamydia infection: This is a common kind of bacteria that can infect womens sex organs. It is spread during sex. Long-term infection can cause other serious problems.
§ Birth control pills: Long-term use of birth control pills increases the risk of this cancer. Some studies show a higher risk after five or more years of use. You should talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of birth control in your own case.
§ Having many pregnancies: Woman who have had many full-term pregnancies have an increased risk of this cancer.
§ Low income: Unfortunately, low-income women are at greater risk. This may be because they cannot afford good health care, including Pap tests.
Most cervical cancer can be prevented. There are two ways to prevent this disease.
The first way is to prevent pre-cancers. This is best done by avoiding risk factors.
Young women can delay having sex until they are older. Women of all ages can protect against HPV by having few sexual partners and not having sex with people who have had many partners. HPV does not always produce warts or other symptoms, so it's hard to tell if someone is infected. Condoms provide some protection against HPV when used correctly and they also help protect against AIDS and other diseases.
There is now a vaccine that can protect against HPV. The vaccine consists of three shots over one year. The vaccine doesnt protect against all types of HPV, so Pap tests are still needed. Talk to your doctor or health care provider about the vaccine for HPV.
The second way to prevent cancer of the cervix is to have a Pap test. The Pap test can detect HPV infection and pre-cancers. Treatment of these problems can stop cervical cancer before it develops fully into an invasive cancer. Talk to your doctor or health care provider about getting a Pap test.
The Pinellas County Health Department has a FREE Breast and Cervical Cancer Program for women who have low income and are 50 to 64 years of age. The program includes breast and pelvic exam, Pap test, and mammogram. Call us at (727) 824-6917 for information or to make an appointment.
To learn more about cancer, including cervical cancer and HPV, visit www.cancer.org
The mission of the Pinellas County Health Department is to promote, protect and improve the health and safety of our community
through public and private partnerships in an environment that respects diversity. www.PinellasHealth.com
Public Information Officer
Pinellas County Health Department
205 Dr. ML King Street North
St. Petersburg, Florida 33701
"I believe that every right implies a responsibility,
every opportunity, an obligation,
every possession, a duty."
John D. Rockefeller
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