January is Cervical Health Awareness month

Published 7:00 am Saturday, January 16, 2016

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month. This month, the health community is promoting early detection and education in order to help women protect themselves from developing cervical cancer.

According to the Mississippi State Department of Health, the human papillomavirus is the single known cause of the cancer and is transmitted via sexual contact.

While the cancer can be dangerous if it isn’t caught early, there are things women can do to reduce their chances of developing the preventable disease.

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By practicing good sexual health, undergoing a yearly pap test and receiving vaccinations against HPV, women can protect themselves from the disease that affects the lives of more than 12,000 women in the U.S. annually, according to the MSDH.

The risk factors that can increase the chance of cervical cancer include, smoking, a history of sexually transmitted diseases, multiple sex partners, unprotected sex and sexual intercourse at an early age. According to the MSDH, the cervical cancer death rate is 50 percent higher in African-American women than Caucasian women.

It’s important that we take the steps necessary to protect ourselves from this preventable disease. Oftentimes, we tend to put off a visit to our doctor and neglect our health because we don’t think that a disease will affect our lifestyle. Yet, we can never be too cautious and should visit the doctor regularly to ensure everything is fine. And, if it’s not, hopefully get on track to catch the disease early enough to treat it quickly and easily.

At the start of the new year, many people made a New Year’s resolution to live a healthier lifestyle so a visit to the doctor should be included in that in order to carry out the resolution successfully.

For more information about cervical cancer, visit HealthyMS.com/cc or call 1-866-HLTHY4U.