Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Prevent HPV-Related Cancers . . . Public Health Launches new Campaign

Every year, more than 30,700 women and men are affected by a cancer caused by HPV — that’s about one new case every 20 minutes.
Despite the fact that HPV vaccine prevents cancer, only 7 percent of youth ages 11 and 12 in the Denver Metro area are fully covered by this important vaccine. To increase awareness and adoption of HPV vaccine uptake, the Metro Denver Alliance for HPV Prevention — a collaborative group of five local public health departments and partners, including Jefferson County Public Health — has launched a campaign to educate parents about this important cancer-preventing vaccine and to encourage them to talk to their child’s doctor for more information.
The launch coincides with National Cancer Prevention Month. It includes a mix of radio, digital and out-of-home advertisements that will run from February through September 2017. Social media posts will feature the hashtag #HPVFreeCO. For more information, visit HPVFreeCo.org.
The Denver Metro Alliance for HPV Prevention is also seeking health care providers for an innovative project to increase practice’s HPV vaccination rates. Participating providers may earn FREE Maintenance of Certification and CME credits along with access to campaign materials such as posters and rack cards. You can view program details here.

In addition to ensuring they’ve received the HPV vaccine, another important step individuals can take to manage their risk for cervical cancer is getting regular screenings. The CDC recommends women between the ages of 21 and 65 be regularly screened for cervical cancer. 
There are two screenings/tests that can help detect cervical cancer early:
  • The Pap test (or Pap smear) looks for precancers, which are cell changes on the cervix that might become cervical cancer if they are not treated appropriately.
  • The HPV test looks for the virus that can cause these cell changes.

Recently, a study out of Johns Hopkins University found that deaths in the U.S. from cervical cancer may be underestimated, according to a release from MedlinePlus. The current projections say about three white women of every 100,000 and six black women of every 100,000 will die of cervical cancer. The new estimates, which don’t include women who’ve had a hysterectomy in the total population, a methodology deemed more accurate by researchers, project five white women of every 100,000 and 10 black women of every 100,000 will die of cervical cancer.
“This is a preventable disease and women should not be getting it, let alone dying from it,” study leader Anne Rositch said in the release. “These data tell us that as long as a woman retains her cervix, it is important that she continue to obtain recommended screening for cervical cancer since the risk of death from the disease remains significant well into older age.
That’s why prevention — including vaccination, screenings and accurate research — is so important, researchers said. 
Public health professionals recommend women start getting Pap tests regularly at age 21. If you are 30 years of age or older, you may choose to have an HPV test along with the Pap test. Both tests can be performed by your healthcare provider at the same time. 
If you have questions or would like to schedule a Pap test or a HPV vaccination, call the JCPH clinic at 303-239-7078.

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