January Is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

BY: - 15 Jan '13 | Lifestyle

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Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

Photo Credit: National Cervical Cancer Coalition

What is Cervical Health Awareness Month?

The United States Congress has designated January as Cervical Health Awareness Month. During January, we as health care professionals, are shedding light on cervical cancer, HPV disease, and the importance of early detection.

What exactly is cervical cancer?

Well, let’s start with the virus first. Human papillomavirus (or HPV as it is called) is the name of a group of viruses that infect the skin. There are more than 100 different types of HPV. Some types of genital HPV may cause genital warts, while other types of genital HPV are linked to abnormal cell changes on the cervix (detected through Pap smear tests). These cervical changes can lead to cervical cancer. However, this cancer can almost always be prevented through regular screenings and, if needed, treatment of abnormal cell changes.

What are some interesting facts that you need to know?*

  • HPV can infect anyone who has ever had an “intimate encounter,” even without going “all the way.”
  • HPV is spread through skin-to-skin contact, not through an exchange of bodily fluid.
  • Cervical cancer most commonly takes 10 years to 20 years or more to develop; women who are no longer sexually active should still have Pap tests.
  • Approximately 6 million new cases of sexually transmitted HPV occur in the U.S. each year, with at least 20 million people estimated to be currently infected.
  • Sadly, most people with HPV do not know that they are infected. It is estimated that 70% of women and men will come into contact with it during their lifetime.
  • Fortunately, 80 to 90% of cases the human papillomavirus will be naturally eliminated.

How can you prevent it?

The good news is that cervical cancer is preventable. Early detection of abnormal cell changes is important. Almost all women and men will have HPV at some point, but very few women will develop cervical cancer. The human body is amazing as the immune systems of most women will usually suppress or eliminate HPV. Only an HPV infection that does not go away over many years can lead to cervical cancer.

Being vaccinated before exposure to the virus helps protect women against cervical cancer and the precancerous lesions that precede it. Regular Pap tests will help detect any precancerous or abnormal cells early enough so that cervical cancer can be prevented. Talk to your doctor about the vaccination, but routine screenings can and will definitely save more lives and prevent suffering.

If you have any questions or concerns about cervical cancer see you health care provider.

BMWK, will you join us in spreading awareness about Cervical Cancer Awareness Month?

* National Cervical Cancer Coalition – www.nccc-online.org

About the author

Sheree Adams wrote 117 articles on this blog.

Sheree is a wife and WAHM of three who passionately blogs about marriage, family, health tips and more as Smart & Sassy Mom. Sheree is committed to helping blended families and keeping marriages strong, healthy, fun and SPICY!

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Tips on How to Keep Your Family Healthy During Flu Season

BY: - 16 Jan '13 | Lifestyle

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Photo Credit: Robert S. Donovan via Flickr

Photo Credit: Robert S. Donovan via Flickr

This season, people are getting sick with the flu at alarming rates. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there are things that can be done by all of us to help prevent the spread of the flu. In light of what is being referred to as a flu epidemic, we’ve rounded up a few tips to help you and your family navigate through flu season. Continue reading for several tips on how to help prevent you or your loved ones from contracting the flu.

  • Distance yourself from those who are sick – I know this can be difficult especially when someone in your home is ill; however, even if that is the case, taking additional precautions may help prevent you from becoming sick. In the event that you do become sick stay home in order to prevent your germs from spreading.
  • Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough –  This may seem obvious; however, you would be surprised how many people don’t take the time to do so. When you do sneeze or cough it is recommended that you do it into a tissue and immediately dispose of the tissue. Another way to sneeze or cough is to do it into your elbow to avoid getting any germs onto your hands.
  • Wash your hands – Get into the routine of cleaning your hands with soap and water or at the very least sanitizer, regularly.
  • Hands Off – Keep your hands off your ears, eyes, and mouth to avoid giving germs entry into your body.
  • Don’t Share – Don’t share drinks and eating utensils and you will reduce the likelihood of sharing germs.
  • Practice Self-care – Get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat healthy.
  • Clean Surfaces Regularly – Clean surfaces that are regularly handled such as doorknobs, television remotes, and your computer keyboard.
  • Get a Flu Shot – While thoughts on the flu shot vary significantly, the flu shot is said to significantly reduce your chance of contracting the flu. Consider getting a flu shot if you haven’t already. To find out where you can obtain the flu vaccine visit Health Map’s Flu Vaccine Finder.

For more information on flu prevention and tips on what to do in the event you or a loved one contract the flu contact your healthcare provider or visit the CDC online.

BMWK, have you or will you and your family members be receiving the flu shot this season?

About the author

Krishann Briscoe wrote 32 articles on this blog.

Krishann Briscoe is a child welfare professional turned freelancer with a background in child and adolescent development and social work. In addition to authoring her personal blog His Mrs. Her Mr., Krishann is a contributor for Disney's Babble, The Conversation and The Conscious Perspective. Krishann resides in Southern California with her husband and their two daughters.

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