While January was officially deemed Cervical Health Awareness Month, the California Medical Association (CMA) Foundation urges physicians to continue educating their patients about prevention and treatment of the disease beyond this month and into the coming year.
“We’re finding that many women aren’t aware of the simple steps they can take to prevent cervical cancer,” said Diana Ramos, M.D., MPH, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine and CMA Foundation board member. “Cervical cancer is one of the few cancers that can be detected through regular screening. Through education campaigns like this one, we can help save the lives of thousands of patients.”
Cervical cancer is the second most common form of cancer worldwide and causes 4,000 deaths in the United States each year. According to the American Cancer Society’s “California Cancer Facts & Figures 2012” report, California will have approximately 1,455 new cases of cervical cancer in 2012, and 435 deaths from the disease.
Public officials recognize cervical health month.
During January, California Governor Jerry Brown as well as California State Senator Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa), and Assemblymember Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) officially recognized the importance of the issue.
Governor Brown recently issued a proclamation acknowledging Cervical Health Awareness Month. Senator Evans and Assemblymember Atkins have also recognized the campaign in a legislative resolution that was introduced last week.
“Women must be their own advocates,” said Senator Evans, Chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus. “We must educate ourselves about our bodies before we become statistics, and we must urge all women to do the same.”
Recent studies have shown that the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine has the potential to prevent up to 70 percent of cervical cancer cases and deaths in California annually. HPV is the leading cause for cervical cancer.
“It is not often in life that we have the resources to avoid a tragedy, but in this case, simple prevention can save thousands of lives,” continued Senator Evans. “Get educated, get screened and if warranted, get vaccinated.”
For more information on the CMA Foundation’s cervical cancer prevention resources, please visit www.thecmafoundation.org/projects/HPV/.