Ladies: Take The Pearl Pledge to Protect Yourselves Against Cervical Cancer
UPPER MARLBORO, Md., Jan. 6, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Cervical cancer is the second leading cause of cancer in women worldwide, yet it is almost always preventable – with the Pap test, the HPV test and the HPV vaccine. That’s what the Pearl of Wisdom Campaign to Prevent Cervical Cancer wants women to know – and share with their mothers, daughters, sisters and friends.
Starting in January, National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, this coalition of leading women’s health advocates is asking women to “Take the Pearl Pledge,” in which they commit to: schedule their annual gynecologic examination, wear a Pearl of Wisdom in support of cervical cancer prevention, and encourage 5 friends to do the same. The campaign aims to secure 4,210 pledges – the same number of U.S. women who were projected to die of cervical cancer in 2010 – by Mother’s Day. Women can participate at www.PearlofWisdom.us/Pledge.
“No woman should die of or lose her fertility to cervical cancer,” said Tamika Felder, cervical cancer survivor and founder of the nonprofit organization, Tamika and Friends (www.tamikaandfriends.org), the lead U.S. partner in the Pearl of Wisdom campaign. “Almost every case of cervical cancer can now be prevented with the Pap test, the HPV test and the HPV vaccine. We want women to know this, to ask for the prevention tools that are appropriate for them, and to help us get the word out to other women by wearing their pearl and starting the conversation.”
Following is what every woman should know:
- Girls and young women: Ask your healthcare provider about the HPV vaccine, which protects against the two types of HPV (human papillomavirus) that cause the majority of cervical cancers. The vaccines are recommended for girls 11 to 12 years old, and are approved for girls and young women up to age 26. Even women who have been vaccinated will still need to be screened.
- Women age 21 or older: Get the Pap test, which detects abnormal cells that can lead to cervical cancer.
- Women age 30 or older: Get the Pap test and the HPV test together as part of routine cervical cancer screening. The HPV test detects the virus that causes cervical cancer, identifying those women at increased risk who will need to be monitored more closely.
“In 2010, more than 12,000 women were expected to be diagnosed with cervical cancer, and more than 4,000 women were expected to die of this disease,” said Deborah Arrindell, vice president of health policy for the American Social Health Association (www.ashastd.org) a partner in the Pearl of Wisdom campaign. “We have a unique opportunity, however, to stamp out cervical cancer because we know what causes it – HPV infection – and we have the tools available to prevent it.”
To participate in the Pearl Pledge, women can purchase a Pearl of Wisdom, the global symbol for cervical cancer prevention, at www.PearlofWisdom.us/Pledge. All proceeds go to the U.S. Pearl of Wisdom Campaign Fund, which supports U.S.-based cervical cancer prevention activities. Women can also wear their own pearls to participate.
About Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women worldwide. In the U.S., the American Cancer Society estimated that in 2010, 12,200 women would be diagnosed with cervical cancer and 4,210 women would die of the disease. Cervical cancer is caused by persistent infections with high-risk types of the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a very common sexually transmitted infection that 3 of 4 adults will have at some time in their lives. Most of these infections go away on their own without treatment. Infections that do not go away on their own can lead to cervical cancer.
A Pap test is the traditional method used for cervical cancer screening. An HPV test identifies women who are infected with high-risk types of HPV that could potentially lead to cervical cancer. Clinical studies suggest that screening with both a Pap test and an HPV test offers women aged 30 and older the best protection against cervical cancer. HPV vaccines, recommended for 11- to 12-year-old girls and approved for young women up to age 26, have been shown to be highly effective at preventing infection with the two most common types of HPV that cause approximately 70% of all cervical cancers. HPV vaccination does not protect against all the HPV types that can cause cervical cancer; thus, women who have been vaccinated still need to be screened.
About the Pearl of Wisdom Campaign to Prevent Cervical Cancer
The Pearl of Wisdom Campaign to Prevent Cervical Cancer is a united, global effort to raise awareness of the opportunities now available to prevent cervical cancer. The campaign increases awareness of the new means of preventing cervical cancer, encourages women to take full advantage of these methods, and advocates for the implementation of these tools for girls and women everywhere. The campaign promotes the Pearl of Wisdom as the global symbol for cervical cancer prevention. All profits from purchases of the Pearl of Wisdom go to the U.S. Pearl of Wisdom Campaign Fund to support cervical cancer prevention activities. The Pearl of Wisdom campaign was launched in the U.S. in 2009, where it is led by the national nonprofit organization, Tamika and Friends, Inc., and includes more than two dozen national partner organizations.
SOURCE Tamika and Friends