• By Carole Watson
  • Posted Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Women's Health: Take Action

Are you doing everything possible to protect yourself and the women in your life against cervical cancer? January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, so now’s the time to get the facts.

Each year in the United States, more than 11,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer.* That means that approximately 30 women each day will need to tell their families that they have the disease.

Cervical cancer is caused by certain types of a virus—human papillomavirus (HPV). Because HPV often has no signs or symptoms, many people don't know they have it. For most people, HPV clears on its own. But for some women who don't clear certain types of the virus, cervical cancer can develop. And there is no way to predict who will or won't clear the virus.

The good news is that there are important steps you can take to help protect yourself and the other women in your life. Talk to your doctor about all these preventive steps, and be sure to get a regular Pap test, which is a test that looks for abnormal cervical cells before they have a chance to become precancerous or cervical cancer.

Set up an appointment to make sure you’re doing everything you can to help protect yourself against cervical cancer. Then make sure all the women in your life are doing the same.

* American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2008. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society; 2008.

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