Know the signs of cervical cancer
[Indianapolis, IN] – January is Cervical Health Awareness month. Every three days the 21st century HPV epidemic causes a Hoosier woman to die from cervical cancer. CDC statistics reveal that the African-American and Latino populations have higher incidence rates and higher death rates compared to white females.
“Cervical cancer is almost 100 percent preventable through regular routine screenings, avoidance of controllable risk factors, and HPV vaccination,” said Kirk Forbes, founder of Kristen Forbes EVE Foundation. “Women need to have open conversations with their healthcare provider about cervical cancer and HPV risks.”
The HPV vaccine, which consists of a three injection series, is approved for ages 9-26 for both both and girls, and is being recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for all girls ages 11-12. In addition, the CDC recommends vaccination for all boys and young men ages 9-26. According to the Indiana Cancer Facts & Figures 2012 report, infection with HPV is the single greatest risk factor for cervical cancer. HPV is passed person-to-person through sexual contact, so while boys aren’t at risk for cervical cancer, they can be carriers of the virus. Boys are also at risk for both anal and oral cancers, as well as genital warts, caused by HPV.
Recent discussions around the vaccination — especially young girls and boys — has made media headlines. The CDC provides online information on HPV vaccine safety to help parents and young adults better understand the benefits and risks of getting vaccinated.
Because cervical cancer is almost 100 percent preventable, it is important for women to take care and be active participants in their health. To help prevent cervical cancer, women can:
- Get vaccinated
- Have routine Pap screenings
- Watch for abnormal vaginal discharge and bleeding
- Ask for an HPV test with Pap smear for ages 30 and over
- Be smoke-free
To assist Hoosiers with the cost of screenings, Indiana Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IN-BCCP), the Indiana implementation of the CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, provides access to breast and cervical cancer screenings, diagnostic testing, and treatment for underserved and underinsured women. Eligibility for the program is determined by age, income and family size. For more information on the IN-BCCP, and to see if you are eligible for the program, call 855-435-7178 or visit www.in.gov/isdh/24967.htm.
About Kristen Forbes EVE Foundation
Kristen Forbes EVE Foundation stands for educate and screen, vaccinate and eradicate cervical cancer. In 2008, Kirk Forbes’ daughter, Kristen, died of cervical cancer. She contracted the Human Papillomavirus, or HPV. She was just 23, and had recently graduated from college. Forbes created the foundation in her memory with a mission to help eradicate cervical cancer and significantly reduce HPV infection levels.