January is Cervical Health Awareness Month: How to Tend to Your Reproductive Health this Year

cervical cancer

Cancer deaths have affected most everyone reading this article, as it is the second leading culprit of the world’s mortality. You have likely either lost someone or know someone who suffered a loss to the merciless killer. In 2019, the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Statistics Center reported 1,762,450 new cancer cases with 606,880 deaths. The numbers shown should not only alarm us but also be a cause for concern signaling prevention. 

As January is Cervical Health Awareness month, it offers an opportunity to open our eyes to the reality that can bring doom if we neglect our bodies.

Last year, the American Cancer Society (ACS) reported an estimated 13,170 new diagnosed cases of invasive cervical cancer. Invasive cancers are aggressive in nature with the potential to spread to the lymph nodes and the entire body. Cervical cancer killed about 4,250 women according to the ACS. 

The cancer was at one time the most common cause of death for women in the United States. Over the years, extensive research has been done on the disease which creates abnormal cells that split up frantically with the potential to invade the body to the point of obliterating normal body tissue. The killer can spread to the entire human system leaving it in shambles until finally shutting it down. Cervical cancer is one possible to treat if found early, but it’s essential that women are informed, helping them make better decisions about their reproductive health.

During the process of writing about cervical cancer, I came across important facts we all should know. Obtaining awareness begins with educating ourselves. Knowing the facts is the first line of defense.

  • There have been misconceptions about the relationship between HPV and Cervical Cancer. Yes, HPV is the leading cause of cancer but only for certain strains of HPV.
  • It is rare for women under the age of 20 to get this particular form of cancer. It mostly affects women midlife, many times diagnosed between the ages of 35 and 44 years old. The risks do not decrease with age, as 15% of cervical cancer cases are diagnosed in women over the age of 65.
  • Hispanic women have the highest chances of getting cervical cancer, followed by African-American, Asian, Pacific Islander, and White. 
  • A Pap Smear (or Pap Test) is incredibly useful in pre-screening since the samples taken from your cervix help doctors determine the health of your cells. This procedure saves lives. Early detection is a big factor that can improve the chances of successfully treating cervical cancer. 

HPV Cervical Cancer

These are some of the truths you should know; there is an insurmountable amount of information at your fingertips. 

Listening to your body is as important as the research. There are some early signs that can signal trouble ahead. Symptoms can include bleeding that is out of the normal such as after sex or a pelvic exam, and in between periods. Other things to look for may include unusual discharge of atypical texture, color, smell, or amount. In addition, be vigilant of painful or frequent urination and pelvic pain. These are all red flags requiring attention; without hesitation, seek medical advice.

Life can get the best of us — work, family and everything else gets prioritized. Sometimes, it takes away from our health. Remembering the significance that our well-being has on everything in our lives is the key to a good life. Use this month to get back in touch with your body. If you have not scheduled your annual gynecologist appointment or have been feeling “off,” do so today.