As you may know by now, January is national Cervical Cancer Awareness month. Why is this of importance to you? Well, because cervical cancer used to be the leading cause for cancer deaths in the united states. However due to increased awareness and yearly Pap tests, women are able to find cervical precancer before it actually develops into full blown cancer. Which results in fewer deaths. Regardless of your age, race, health or relationship (monogamous or not) you are still at risk. If you are a female, you need to be in the KNOW.
The main cause of cervical cancer is the human papillomavirus, better known as HPV. It is passed on through sexual contact. This virus is very common, in fact according to the CDC most sexually active women at some point in their lives will have contracted the virus, the majority of which will not develop into cervical cancer. Although not all who contract HPV will develop cancer do not be fooled into thinking that cancer is the ONLY thing to worry about. Did you know that there are over 100 types of the virus? Of which there are various types of warts. There is low risk HPV and high risk HPV (30 of which are the cancerous type)
Here are some additional facts for you to consider:
- During the the development of HPV you may not have symptoms.
- Using condoms is not a sure protection against the virus.
- HPV can be contracted by skin on skin contact and even anal sex.
- Even if you have been married for years or only have one partner it is possible to have been infected. (that was a shocker for me)
- HPV can be contracted in the mouth, tongue, throat and tonsils
Education is your best form of protection against HPV and cervical cancer. Share what you have learned with others. Say Something! Click this link to get your say something kit to help teach your friends and family about cervical cancer.