Cervical Health & HPV Vaccination
January is Cervical Health Awareness Month, and Door County Medical Center wants you to know that there’s a lot you can do to prevent cervical cancer. Each year, more than 11,000 women in the United States get cervical cancer.
HPV (human papillomavirus) is a very common viral infection that spreads through sexual activity, and causes almost all cases of cervical cancer. HPV infects both men and women and cannot be prevented by the use of condoms, as it is transmitted skin-to-skin. About 79 million Americans currently have HPV, but many people with HPV don’t know they are infected.
HPV is so common that 8 out of 10 people will get an HPV infection at some point in their lifetime. In most cases, HPV goes away on its own. But, sometimes, HPV infections don’t go away, and can cause certain cancers and other diseases.
In addition to cervical cancer in women, HPV infections can cause cancers of the back of the throat (oropharyngeal cancer), anus, and penis in men. Cancers of the back of the throat have surpassed cervical cancer as the most common type of cancer caused by HPV. Unlike cervical cancer in women, there are no recommended screening tests for the other types of cancers that HPV causes, so they may not be found until they cause health problems.
The good news?
In honor of National Cervical Health Awareness Month, Door County Medical Center encourages:
Teens and young adults also need to get the HPV vaccine if they didn’t get it as pre-teens. Women and men up to age 45 can still get the vaccine.
“Cervical cancer and other HPV related diseases are highly preventable,” says Dr. Dorene Dempster, OB/GYN, “taking small steps like ensuring your children have been vaccinated against HPV can keep your family safe and healthy in the future.”
Thanks to the health care reform law, you and your family members may be able to get these services at no cost to you. Check with your insurance company to learn more. For more information or to schedule a cervical screening or HPV vaccination, contact us (920) 743-5566.