Cervical Cancer Awareness Month | Are You At Risk For Cervical Cancer?

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month and Cervical Health Awareness Month.
Thank you to Baptist Health South Florida for sponsoring this important information. 

miami moms blog cervical cancer awareness month

“You have cancer.”

These are words that no Mom ever wants to hear.

However, according to the American Cancer Society, more than 13,000 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2020. More than 4,000 will die from the disease. This type of cancer typically affects women in their 30’s and beyond with most cases being diagnosed in those ages 35-44. 

Although cases have declined by 50% over the last 40 years, some women are more at risk. According to research studies at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, white women are dying at a rate 47 percent higher than may have been stated earlier.  African-American women are succumbing to the cancer at a rate 77 percent higher than previous reports indicate. 

Miami Moms Blog has partnered with Baptist Health South Florida to educate Moms and raise awareness about cancers that affect women in particular. What puts women at risk for this particular type of cancer?

Cervical Cancer Risk Factors

According to CDC, more than 50% of new cases were found in women who had never or rarely been screened. Other risk factors for cervical cancer include:

  • HPV viruses.
  • HIV infection.
  • Compromised immune systems.
  • Exposure in utero to diethylstilbestrol – commonly know as DES – a synthetic estrogen prescribed between 1938 and 1971 to pregnant women to prevent miscarriages or other pregnancy problems.
  • Previous treatment for abnormal cervical tissue or cancer.

Because HPV viruses are cancer causing viruses and very prevalent (about 80 million people are currently infected in the United States) it is recommended that individuals receive the HPV vaccine. A new report from the CDC found that of the estimated 34,800 cancers likely caused by HPV (human papillomavirus) each year, 92 percent can be prevented by an HPV vaccine. Geoffrey Young, M.D., chief of head and neck surgery at Miami Cancer Institute notes, “There is good evidence to suggest that the HPV vaccine will help prevent future cancers.”

Cervical Cancer Screenings & Prevention

The decline in deaths caused by cervical cancer is largely due to the effectiveness of screening using the Pap test. According to Nicholas Lambrou, M.D., chief of gynecologic oncology at Miami Cancer Institute, the Pap test is one of the best screening methods to date.  The test allows doctors to identify pre-cancer and invasive cervical cancer.

Dr. Lambrou suggests, “The best way for women to prevent a cervical cancer diagnosis is to be consistent with annual visits to their gynecologist and receive the screenings that can save their lives.”  

The American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology (ACOG) advises women to begin yearly screenings at age 21. It is also recommended for women who are younger than 21 and infected with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) to begin screenings immediately. 

Have You Scheduled Your Annual? 

When detected early, cervical cancer is one of the most successfully treatable cancers. As with most cancer diagnoses, early detection is crucial.

Moms have many responsibilities to juggle. In the midst of these responsibilities it is imperative to prioritize our health. Scheduling you annual appointments can save your life.  What’s keeping you from scheduling your annual appointment? 

Baptist Health South Florida has locations conveniently located around South Florida to serve you. Check out their website to find a location near you. 

January is recognized as Cervical Cancer Screening Month and Cervical Health Awareness Month, by the Foundation for Women’s Cancer and the NCCC.  Join the conversation on social media as the fight continues to #EndCervicalCancer and raise awareness about #CervicalHealthMonth.

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Cierra is the Owner & Founder of Miami Mom Collective. A Southern girl with Alabama roots, she has lived in California, Israel, China, Texas and Florida. Cierra quickly fell in love with the beauty and diversity of South Florida when she first visited Key Biscayne after reconnecting with (and later marrying!) her high school sweetheart. Before having children of her own, she oversaw more than 100 as the Director of Key Biscayne Presbyterian School. In 2017 she launched into her latest and greatest adventure: motherhood! Cierra is Mama to a joyful 5 year girl, an energetic 3 year old boy, snuggly 1 year old boy, and a smiley baby girl! Her hands and heart are FULL to say the least! Cierra is passionate about leading and developing women to use their unique gifts to serve and encourage others. She founded Miami Mom Collective to encourage, equip, and empower Moms with relevant resources and a meaningful community. Follow her on Instagram to stay connected.