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January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

Published: 01/07/22

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month is an annual observance held throughout the month of January. It is intended to raise awareness of cervical cancer.All women are at risk for cervical cancer. It occurs most often in women over age 30.In fact, HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancer in women, of which every year there are around 11,000 new cases. Cervical cancer causes the death of about 4,000 U.S. women each year.

Almost all cervical cancers are caused by persistent infections with certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV). Cervical cancer is the most common HPV-associated cancer. Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a common virus that is spread through sexual contact. The virus, of which there are approximately 40 known types, can cause genital warts, cervical cancer in women, and other types of cancer in both men and women.

The most important thing you can do to help prevent cervical cancer is to get vaccinated early and have regular screening tests.

HPV Vaccine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends routine vaccination for males and females at age 11 or 12, but the HPV vaccine can be given as early as age 9. CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) also now recommend to include the "catch up" age for both men and women age 18-26, recently expanding the recommendation to include older adults up to age 45 who had not been adequately vaccinated. This age group should make a shared decision with their doctor about the HPV vaccination. Adults older than 45 who have not been vaccinated are not advised to do so, since HPV vaccines are not licensed for use in that age group.

If vaccination is started before age 15, a two-dose schedule is recommended, with the doses given 6 to 12 months apart. For people who start the series after their 15th birthday, the vaccine is given in a series of three shots.

The HPV vaccine (Gardasil) does not eliminate the necessity for proper screening for head and neck cancers or other HPV-related type cancers as recommended by a healthcare provider.

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