By Perdita Henry
January is Cervical Health Awareness Month, and our friends at the Texas Department of State Health Services Immunization Unit have gathered a plethora of resources to shepherd you through this month of patient empowerment.
Each year nearly 13,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer, an almost completely preventable form of cancer. The number of affected women by the disease remains high despite the availability of the vaccination and regular appropriate screenings, such as pap and HPV testing.
In response to these facts, there is a renewed focus on providing your adolescent patients with the HPV vaccine, which is proven to prevent most HPV-related cancers. The Centers for Disease Control now recommends a two-dose vaccination, rather than three, for 11 or 12-year-olds. The CDC states that reducing the number of shots does not interfere with the effectiveness of the vaccine within this age group. Additionally, the CDC has also provided a toolkit to help you spread the word and spark conversations about HPV. The toolkit features information on how to create effective messages to share on social media and how to plan an informational event in your community.
And finally, the American Cancer Society and the National HPV Roundtable have decided to make sure Cervical Health Awareness Month does not remain silent. They encourage us all to use the hashtag #2Shots2PreventCancer to bring awareness to the importance of the vaccine and bring attention to the stories of those who have been affected by the virus.
No woman should die from cervical cancer and these groups are dedicated to making sure we stop HPV in its tracks.