Last month, I had the opportunity to be a part of a conversation with other SV Moms Group bloggers, Michelle Whitlock, and ABC News Medical Contributor Dr. Marie Savard ("Dr. Marie"). It was a frank and open call...and I learned a lot.
As a cancer survivor, I am hyper-interested in learning anything about how any cancer can be PREVENTED. And the amazing news is, cervical cancer is a cancer that can be prevented. Some statistics: Cervical cancer used to be the #1 cause of death and it still remains the #2 cause of cancer (2nd only to breast cancer). There is no other cancer we know so much about and we even have a vaccine which can prevent up to 70%! We could reduce the cases to 0 if we used the science we know about.
There are many similarities between my story and Michelle's Michelle was 26 when she was diagnosed. I was 28. We were both newly married. We both wanted to have kids. We both searched for ways to keep our fertility. I ended up with three kids, after searching for a chemo treatment that would have less impact on my fertility. Michelle and her husband just had a baby girl born via surrogate (yay!).
Today, no one has to die from cervical cancer. That is why I am taking part in this effort to educate about early detection. Dr. Marie worries that If women don't go into their annual visit to talk about their health, we will lose a lot of women. Here is what you can do...
Here is what every woman should know about cervical cancer prevention:* Girls and young women: Ask your healthcare provider about the HPV vaccine, which protects against the two types of HPV that cause the majority of cervical cancers. The vaccines are recommended for girls 11 and 12 years old, and are approved for girls and young women up to age 26. Even women who’ve been vaccinated will still need to be screened.
* Women age 21 or older: Get the Pap test, which detects abnormal cells that can lead to cervical cancer.
* Women age 30 or older: Get the Pap test and the HPV test together as part of routine cervical cancer screening. The HPV test detects the virus that causes cervical cancer, identifying those women at increased risk who will need to be monitored more closely.
Cervical cancer is nearly 100% preventable when we take action for our women's health. The HPV test and HPV vaccine are the tools. This is the first time in history that we have a test for, we have the tools to prevent and we have a vaccine. Truly amazing!
Join me and take the Pearl Pledge today - the pledge is commit to schedule your annual exam, tell 5 friends about the pledge and to ask them to take the pledge too. Wear whatever pearls you have or buy a Pearls of Wisdom pin (all profits go to US fund for CC prevention activity).Additional information:
- Cervical cancer and HPV info: http://www.pearlofwisdom.us/
- Dr. Marie Savard speaking on ABC News re: the new cervical cancer screening guidelines: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/
CancerPreventionAndTreatment/ pap-smear-recommendation-good- women/story?id=9138442
- Pearl of Wisdom Campaign to Prevent Cervical Cancer: http://www.pearlofwisdom.us/
- Michelle Whitlock background: http://www.