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The Fight Against Cervical Cancer During National Women’s Health Month

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End Stigma, End Fear, End Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer (CCA) is one of the most common cancers among women. Despite being easily prevented and highly treatable and curable, it persists as one of the oldest, most stigmatized and deadliest illness among women, worldwide.

Women in the Inland Empire have some of the highest cervical cancer rates in California. It is estimated that 1,495 women will be diagnosed with CCA and 430 women will die of CCA in California by 2011. Recent reports show an increase in CCA cases, illness and deaths among specific communities in California, including the Inland Empire. According to the American Cancer Society, there will be an estimated 860 new cases of cervical cancer and an estimated 150 deaths in the Inland Empire in 2011.

Also African- and Latina- Americans have higher rates and poorer survival. CCA is one of the most preventable cancers since the Papanicolaou (PAP) test can effectively, safely and cost effectively detect cellular changes even before cancer develops.

What is Cervical Cancer?

Cervical cancer is one of the more common cancers of the female reproductive system. Most cervical cancers are linked to infection by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Cervical cancer may cause vaginal pain and bleeding, however, a woman can have cervical cancer and not know it since there may be no symptoms.

How to prevent cervical cancer:

A PAP test can find abnormal cervical cell changes before they can become cancerous. A PAP test can also show if cervical cancer is present. If cancer is found early, it's easy to treat and highly curable. A PAP test is a healthy habit for women and a healthy habit for you.

Preventing an HPV infection with a new vaccine called Gardasil is now possible. The vaccine provides protection against the four types of HPV that cause most cervical cancers and genital warts. The HPV vaccine is recommended for 11 and 12 year-old girls, and young women age 13 - 26 who are not yet sexually active. The HPV vaccine is available at your doctor’s office, clinic, and local health department or student health services.

This women’s health information is sponsored by a study at City of Hope National Medical Center. City of Hope is a biomedical research and treatment center dedicated to the prevention, treatment and cure of cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

City of Hope is a Comprehensive Cancer Center, the highest distinction awarded by the National Cancer Institute, signifying the breadth, depth and quality of the institution’s research and clinical care.

City of Hope mailing address: 1500 E. Duarte Road Duarte CA, 91010; 626-256-4673 or visit www.coh.org -- Center of Community Alliance for Research and Education (CCARE), 866-704-0474 or 626-256-4673 Ext 63345 Phyllis Clark, CEO, Healthy Heritage Movement, Inc., 3637 9th Street, Riverside, CA 92501 or visit www.healthyheritagemovement.com, 951-288-4375.

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