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Cervical Health Awareness Month – January 2023

Cervical Health Awareness Month is marked every year in January to encourage women to be more attentive to their health. Cervical health is one aspect of health that many women neglect throughout their lives. By becoming more knowledgeable about this, women can detect any health issues at an early stage and get access to the best treatment.

History of Cervical Health Awareness Month

The United States Congress created the Cervical Health Awareness Month, and it’s observed throughout the U.S. in January. It is estimated that over 13,000 females suffer from cervical cancer in the U.S. each year. Fortunately, cervical cancer can be easily prevented through vaccination and early detection. Throughout January, various events are hosted by healthcare providers around the country to raise awareness about cervical cancer and the Human Papillomavirus (H.P.V.). During the 1800s in western Europe, cervical cancer was one of the most common forms of malignant tumor found in women. It was one of the leading causes of cancer death for women in European countries. Since 1950, efforts have been made to control the disease through early screening and treatment.

In the mid-1940s, Dr. Georgios Nikolaou Papanikolaou’s ‘Pap smear’ cancer screening method was practiced in the U.S. Later, the test became equally popular in the U.K., and a special program for early cervical cancer detection and screening was introduced in 1988. In the late 1970s, screeners were also able to detect H.P.V.16 in patients with cervical cancers. And through continuous research and development, effective vaccines were developed and licensed to prevent major types of H.P.V., including types 16 and 18 that are known to cause cervical cancer. Although H.P.V. vaccination prevents new H.P.V. infections, it does not treat existing ones. These vaccines are most effective when taken before exposure to H.P.V; therefore, regular screening is the best way to prevent cervical cancer. And the main idea behind Cervical Health Awareness month is to raise awareness in the community about the benefits of early detection when there are no symptoms of the disease.

Cervical Health Awareness Month timeline

1886
British Professor John Williams Discovers Cervical Cancer

Sir John Williams, a Welsh physician, is credited with having discovered cervical cancer, by describing an injury that corresponds to carcinoma in the position of the cervix.

1943
George Papanicolaou and Herbert Traut

Papanicolaou and Traut publish their landmark work "Diagnosis of Uterine Cancer by the Virginal Smear," which revolutionized early detection of cancer.

1976
H.P.V. DNA in Cervical Cancer

Harald zur Hausen uncovers H.P.V. DNA in cervical cancer and genital warts, and this discovery later earns him a Nobel Prize.

2006
H.P.V. Vaccines are Introduced in the U.S.

The United States F.D.A. approves Gardasil (H.P.V.4).

Cervical Health Awareness Month FAQs

What color is Cervical Health Awareness Month?

The color teal is used to represent Cervical Cancer Awareness month. Health care providers raise awareness about the causes of cervical cancer and ways to prevent it through early screening and vaccines.

What is good for cervical health?

Nuts like hazelnuts, almonds, peanuts, cashews, walnuts, and green leafy vegetables including broccoli and spinach are beneficial for cervical health. Foods that are rich in folate and vitamin A are also good for cervical health.

What is the leading cause of cervical cancer?

Prolonged infection with certain types of H.P.V.s is the main cause of cervical cancer. 

How to Observe Cervical Health Awareness Month

  1. Gather facts about cervical cancer

    Gather facts and statistics about cervical cancer from the local health departments of your area. Note down the most relevant information, make copies of the data and distribute it in your neighborhood.

  2. Organize a cervical screening

    Ask your local healthcare providers to help set up a cervical screening camp in your school, neighborhood, or organization. Make banners and flyers for the event and distribute them in your area. Ask your friends and colleagues to spread the information about the screening by talking about it on social media.

  3. Participate in online events

    Various online podcasts and live sessions are conducted by healthcare providers throughout January to educate people about cervical cancer and H.P.V. Try attending at least one event this Cervical Health Awareness Month. Get familiar with the signs and symptoms of H.P.V. and learn about new ways to prevent it.

5 Important Facts About The Cervix

  1. The literal meaning of cervix

    The cervix is a Latin word that means 'neck of the womb.'

  2. The H.P.V. vaccine

    The H.P.V. vaccines cannot cure any existing disease.

  3. H.P.V. rate in the U.S.

    H.P.V. is the most common S.T.I. in the U.S.

  4. The cervix is flexible

    The shape and texture of the cervix change during pregnancy.

  5. Smoking and cervical cancer

    Women who smoke are more vulnerable to cervical cancer.

Why Cervical Health Awareness Month Is Important

  1. It encourages women to take care of their cervical health

    It creates awareness about and motivates women to take care of their cervical health. Women get more familiar with the benefits of lifestyle changes and the importance of those fruits and vegetables that are rich in folate and vitamin A to prevent cervical cancer.

  2. It creates awareness about H.P.V.

    This day is equally important for males and females. The Human Papillomavirus is an infection that can occur in both men and women. And this month is also used to create awareness about H.P.V. and its treatment. Since there is no cure for the H.P.V. virus, people are informed about the vaccines for H.P.V. and effective treatments to assuage the effect in carriers.

  3. Cervix screenings are conducted for young girls

    Females are encouraged to get a pap smear even if they are not experiencing any signs or symptoms of cervical cancer. Moreover, special programs are conducted for high school students to highlight the importance of H.P.V. vaccines. The entire purpose and procedure of a Pap smear are also explained in detail.

Cervical Health Awareness Month dates

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