Sunday, August 22, 2010

Be Proactive In The Fight Against Cervical Cancer

As moms, it is our desire - and our duty - to do all we can to proactively protect our children. Cervical cancer is a serious health threat for women, but it is both preventable and curable if detected early. The National Cancer Institute estimates new cases of cervical cancer in 2010 at 12,200 and deaths from cervical cancer for 2010 at 4,210. Visit for more information.

Knowing that cervical cancer is both preventable and curable, I'll be using every resource available to me to protect Pudding Pie. HPV vaccines are for girls and young women ages 9-26. The vaccines act as powerful tools to help protect against the two types of HPV that are most commonly associated with cervical cancer. When Pudding Pie is the right age, she'll be getting her vaccine.

I have realised that its not enough for me to focus only on protecting Pudding Pie. For my daughter's sake, I have to be my own health advocate, stay proactive, and protect myself too.

Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer affecting women worldwide, but the good news is that it is easily preventable because we know its cause, HPV. To protect against cervical cancer, we need routine Pap testing and we also need to ask for the HPV Test.

The Pap Test looks at a sample of cells taken from a woman's cervix for any cell changes or abnormalities. Pap testing should begin at age 21. The HPV Test is conducted from the same sample as the Pap and identifies women with high-risk HPV infections that can cause cervical cancer. When used with a Pap in women 30 and older, the HPV test increases the ability to identify who is at risk of developing cervical cancer.

However, not all doctors automatically use both tests so, moms, if you're 30 or older, ask your doctor for the digene HPV test along with your Pap smear.
  • If both tests come back normal, then the tests don't need to be repeated for 3 years. But remember to return each year for your annual health exam.

  • If one or both tests come back abnormal, this doesn't necessarly mean you have cervical cancer. It simply enables your healthcare provider to monitor you more closely or treat pre-cancerous cells before cervical cancer develops.

  • HPV testing isn't necessary for women younger than 30, because HPV infections in young women usually go away on their own without causing problems. Women under 30 will only have HPV testing if their Pap testing is inconclusive.

To learn more about the early detection and prevention of cervical cancer through HPV screening and Pap testing, visit The site is chock-full of information and includes frequently-asked-questions, patient stories, and tips on deciphering test results. Take a few minutes to test your knowledge of HPV in the Myths vs. Facts Quiz -I was shocked at how uninformed I was!
Follow on Twitter: @HPVinformed
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Be sure to check out these other helpful links on cervical cancer prevention:
The Yellow Umbrella Organization is founded by cervical cancer survivor and "rocker", Christine Baze, who takes her music and story on the road to educate women about cancer prevention. Visit Christine's site to putchase a Yellow Umbrella make-up kit to raise money for cervical cancer prevention.
HealthyWomen is the nation's leading independent health information source for women. Recently listed as one of Forbes' top 100 websites for women, has resources on many women's health issues, including comprehensive info on cervical and gynecologic cancers.
The Pearl of Wisdom Campaign To Prevent Cervical Cancer is a gobal partnership to raise awareness of tools for preventing cervical cancer and advocate for making them available to girls and women worldwide. Buy a pin, send an e-card, and download educational materials.

I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by Mom Central on behalf of the Qiagen digene HPV Test. Mom Central also sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.

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