I want to open this STD Awareness Blog series with a STD complication success story: fighting cervical cancer. Because here’s the thing: cervical cancer is almost completely preventable. This means that, given consistent and correct care, you will likely never been one of those 4,000 women who die of this preventable and treatable disease.
This week: Too few young women get tested for Chlamydia, circumcised men have lower rates of prostate cancer, new guidelines recommend less frequent Pap tests, and young people in the South fare worse than their peers when it comes to sexual health.
Problems with cervical cancer screening practices are a major contributor to more than 4,000 women per year dying of this 100% prevantable cancer.
Cervical cancer incidence rates vividly demonstrate inequities in our health care systems and in health outcomes. Women in rural areas, the elderly, those with less formal education, and women of color, for example, experience disproportionately high rates of cervical cancer. Meanwhile, in rural communities, uninsured white women have some of the poorest access to routine screening of any patient population.
No woman should die from cervical cancer. Medical science has finally given us the tools to prevent the deaths of women living with it.
What can you do? You can get screened. You can get vaccinated. You can let others know to get screened and get vaccinated.
It is no secret that women of color—specifically Black and Latina women—are at greatest risk of cervical cancer. Ending cervical cancer will be no easy task. Great strides can be made by taking a multi-level approach to the problem, which includes expanding knowledge, empowering Black women to make their health a priority, and continued advocacy efforts.
No woman should be diagnosed, let alone die, of cervical cancer. For the first time, we have a comprehensive set of tools to prevent and fight the disease.
Men have an important role to play in preventing the spread of HPV. It is too common for women (particularly women of color) to have barriers to screening services or accessing this vaccine. This makes it even more important for men to seek the vaccine and to encourage the women in their lives (particularly the ones they are having sex with) to also be vaccinated.
A list of what it will take to end cervical cancer.