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JANUARY IS THE CERVICAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH

Get Informed – Get Screened – Get Vaccinated

It is estimated that over 300,000 females die from cervical cancer each year, being the main cause prolonged infections with certain types of Human Papillomavirus (HPV), as types 16 and 18. Fortunately, as cervical cancer can be easily prevented through vaccination and early detection, efforts have been made to control the disease through early screening and treatment of HPV infections.

During the 1800s in western Europe, cervical cancer was one of the most common forms of malignant tumor found in women, and it was one of the leading causes of cancer death for women.

In the mid-1940s, Dr. Georgios Nikolaou Papanikolaou’s ‘Pap smear’ cancer screening method was practiced in the U.S., becaming popular worldwide. In the late 1970s, screeners were also able to detect HPV 16 in patients with cervical cancers. Nowadays, it is possible to detect the infection produced by the different types of HPV before they cause cancer, using genetic genotyping tests as a screening, allowing for a follow up and treatment of the infection.

Besides, through continuous research and development, effective vaccines were developed to prevent major types of HPV that are known to cause cervical cancer. HPV vaccination prevents new infections, but it does not treat existing ones. These vaccines are most effective when taken before exposure to HPV; therefore, regular screening for an early detection is the best way to prevent cervical cancer before there are symptoms of the disease.

As a complement to vaccines and screening, women can improve cervical health by eating foods rich in folate and vitamin A, as nuts like hazelnuts, almonds, peanuts, cashews, walnuts, and green leafy vegetables including broccoli and spinach.

You can find more info about tests to genotype HPV infections and the Cervical Health Awareness Month bu the WHO in the following links:

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