September is gynecological cancer awareness month. For some reason, I have noticed that we – yes, I’m including myself in this post – don’t really pay too much attention to these types of cancers. There have been a few cases where ladies have not even been made aware that they have a gynecological cancer until they are pregnant. Unfortunately, sometimes that causes extra heartache and break for the family because that leaves them to make a tough decision about the life of their unborn child. Yeah – I went there. I have noticed that to get your attention, I have to do something that grabs you and gets you at your heart. I hope that it worked. It’s time for us to start taking a stand for our lives. Gentlemen, if you are reading this, please pass this along to any female that you love and care about. I’m Talking about cervical cancer.
Each year approximately 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year. In most instances, the people diagnosed are age 30 and older. 30? Yeah – it sounds so young. Some of us at 30 (I’m 27) will probably still be thinking that nothing will happen to us because we are young and wild and free. However, illness and death doesn’t have an age. Keep that in mind.
The main cause of cervical cancer is human papillomavirus or most commonly noted as HPV. Approximately half of all sexually active people will get HPV. The interesting part about this statistic is that considering the population of the US, the number of women actually getting cervical cancer is small.
Let’s talk a little bit about HPV. There are more than 40 types of HPV. Yeah, I didn’t know that either. HPV is also the most common STD. It effects both males and females and can be contracted during vaginal sex, anal sex, and oral sex. Much like HIV, many people that have this virus are unaware and are passing it along to their sexual partners. Unfortunately, HPV is another disease that can be passed along to unborn children. It’s rare, but the condition in infants is called recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP).
There are vaccines available to both males and females. Using protection during sexual activities, although not will not 100% protect you from getting HPV, it will greatly reduce your risk of getting HPV.
Also, staying faithful and keeping your number of sexual partners to a minimum will also help. The only true way to avoid HPV, like other sexually transmitted diseases, is to remain abstinent until you are married or until you feel comfortable being sexually active with your girlfriend or boyfriend or friend with benefits. Yep – I’m keeping it that real tonight.
Ladies, another thing that we can do is make sure that we make annual doctor visits to have gynecological services completed. If you are not able to make it to an OB/GYN, please ask your family doctor if they offer gynecological services. Many do know how to perform pap smears and will be willing to have you come in to get one completed. Also, if something comes back strange on your report, please do not disregard and go back to your doctor. They are there to help you and to help you understand what is going on with your body. Ask questions and do not leave until you understand what is going on. This is your body and you only get one of them. During The Steve Harvey Morning Show this morning, it was stated that women should started getting pap smears annually at age 21. However, if you are sexually active and younger than 21, please consider going to get a pap smear. It could just save your life.
I have only scratched the surface of cervical cancer with this blog. Why? Well, I want you to take interest in your body and your health and do some research for yourself. It baffles me at how ignorant we are about our own bodies. Yes, I included myself because I know that I need to do better and get my pap done this year. For more information about what you have read and to do further research, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as www.cdc.gov.
Now, here is something else that I want you to do. If you know of anyone dealing with cervical cancer or your have dealt with cervical cancer, I would love for you to comment and share – if you feel comfortable with doing so. We need to create a dialogue because this is the only way that young women are going to start to think about this and realize that this is just as serious as any other type of cancer. I look forward to hearing what you have to say.
Follow me on twitter @Shayla_Em.
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