What is Cervical Health Awareness Month?
The United States Congress designated January as Cervical Health Awareness Month. More than 13,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer each year, but the disease is preventable with vaccination and appropriate screening.
During January, NCCC and its many local chapters across the country highlight issues related to cervical cancer, HPV disease and the importance of early detection. While NCCC chapters host events throughout the year, January is a month with a special focus as chapters celebrate Cervical Health Awareness Month and work to spread the word in their communities.
NCCC and the American Sexual Health Association (ASHA) also offer a range of resources (listed below) to educate the public and healthcare providers about cervical health, from fact sheets to episodes of ASHA’s Sex+Health podcast.
What Can You Do?
As someone who is interested in educating and advocating for increased knowledge of cervical cancer and HPV disease, you can do a lot. You can contact your local media to encourage coverage of Cervical Health Awareness Month, offering this ASHA/NCCC press release. You can also send this proclamation to your mayor, or local legislative office to publicly recognize Cervical Health Awareness Month.
You can also check out the resources on this page, from fact sheets to episodes of ASHA’s Sex+Health podcast, to educate yourself and others. Download, display and distribute our cervical cancer awareness month posters and help NCCC and ASHA get the word out on social media.
HPV vaccines can help prevent infection from both high risk HPV types that can lead to cervical cancer and low risk types that cause genital warts. The CDC recommends all boys and girls get the HPV vaccine at age 11 or 12 as the vaccine produces a stronger immune response when taken during the preteen years. For this reason, up until age 14, only two doses are the vaccine are required. The vaccine is available for all males and females through age 45 but, for those 15 and older, a full three-dose series is needed.
A Pap test can find cell changes to the cervix caused by HPV. HPV tests find the virus and help healthcare providers know which women are at highest risk for cervical cancer. Pap and HPV tests (either alone or in combination) are recommended for women over 30: each woman should ask her health care provider how often she should be screened and which tests are right for her.
Take Part in a Clinical Trial
Clinical trials for cervical and other cancers can be of tremendous value but how do you find one that’s right for you? Our page on research studies gets you up to speed and links you to opportunities.
The HPV vaccine is now approved for males and females through age 45 and NCCC hosted a Facebook live discussion to cover what you need to know about the expanded age range.
Promote Cervical Health on Social Media
You can help NCCC promote the importance of cervical health and cervical cancer prevention by sharing prevention messages throughout the month that cervical cancer is preventable!
- January is Cervical Health Awareness Month. Learn more, get involved, make a difference! http://ow.ly/g3RQ30760mz #CervicalHealthMonth
- Free fact sheet download – Ten Things to Know About HPV http://ow.ly/VKdY307APzi #CervicalHealthMonth
- Find free/low cost Pap tests in your area. http://ow.ly/9REq30760to #CervicalHealthMonth
- Check out our updated patient education tool, Understanding Cervical Cancer Prevention, take the short survey at the end, and enter a drawing for a $100 Amazon card! #CervicalHealthMonth tinyurl.com/y2z3dh6
- January is Cervical Health Awareness Month. Visit NCCC to learn more. Get involved and make a difference! http://ow.ly/MdJb30760xc
- During Cervical Health Month in January ASHA is offering a free download of the fact sheet Ten Things to Know About HPV. Get yours today. http://ow.ly/VKdY307APzi
- During Cervical Health Month in January you can download free posters and more from NCCC. For more go to NCCC. Get involved, make a difference! http://ow.ly/jgj730760D4
- Not one single woman ever needs to die from cervical cancer. We have the tools we need to prevent this disease so let’s use them. Get involved. Make a difference! Visit the National Cervical Cancer Coalition online http://ow.ly/jgj730760D4
- Ten Things to Know about HPV and Cervical Cancer fact sheet
- Free ebook: HPV & Cervical Cancer: Stories from Survivors and Supporters
- Cervical Cancer Awareness Month Posters (click on an image to view and download)
ASHA’s Sex+Health Podcast
The Sex+Health podcast covers a range topics of topics in sexual health, including HPV and cervical cancer prevention. The episodes below feature interviews with experts in the field discussing all aspects of HPV and cervical cancer prevention.
HPV Tests Take Center Stage
It used to be so simple: go for an annual Pap! The venerable Pap is now frequently used as a co-test along with a test for the Human papillomavirus (HPV), the virus that causes almost all cases of cervical cancer. In this episode Dr. Latoya Patterson breaks down the current approaches to screening for cervical cancer including the newest option, HPV primary screening, where an HPV test is used without being paired with a Pap test. The Pap test still has a role, though, so tune in to find out all about it!
HPV FAQs with H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
Most sexually active individuals are estimated to have one or more infections in their lifetime with the human papillomavirus (HPV) and, not surprisingly, ASHA receives countless HPV questions, everything from What should I tell a partner? To Will I always have it? H. Hunter Handsfield, MD, gives us the scoop on what we need to know about HPV.
Resources for Health Professionals
- FAQs on HPV for Clinicians
- Counseling Patients on HPV