CHICAGO, Jan. 12 In recognition of Cervical Health Awareness Month, singer-songwriter and actress Mandy Moore, The Gynecologic Cancer Foundation (GCF) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) are teaming up to encourage young women to do their part to help reduce their risk of cervical cancer. The goal of the "Reality Check: What Young Women Don't Know About Cervical Cancer" campaign is to raise awareness of cervical cancer and motivate young women to talk to their healthcare professional about how to protect their cervical health now and for the future.
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Cervical cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States in women in their twenties and thirties. However, a recent survey of more than 1,000 women 19 to 25 years old revealed that the vast majority (85 percent) do not believe they are at risk for cervical cancer now. Women surveyed felt more informed about diet and nutrition than they did about reproductive healthcare. In fact, approximately 1 out of 5 young women surveyed had "no clue" what the cervix does, and only half said they could identify their cervix on a picture of the reproductive organs.
"There's a lot I didn't know about cervical cancer and how to protect my cervical health, which inspired me to take action and rally other young women to join the cause," said Moore. "As young women, we should feel empowered to take care of our cervical health. Women shouldn't have to suffer from cervical cancer when there are things we can do to prevent this disease."
A Pap test is an important screening tool that can detect abnormal cells in the cervix before they turn into cervical cancer. In the U.S., every year, 3.5 million women receive an abnormal Pap test result, and of those, more than half a million are diagnosed with cervical pre-cancers that may need treatment. If left untreated, pre-cancers can grow into cervical cancer and may require more invasive procedures. Approximately 9 out of 10 women surveyed did not realize that cervical procedures to treat abnormal Pap test results (pre-cancers) can impact a woman's ability to carry a pregnancy to term. These procedures are sometimes needed to treat high grade Pap test results.
In addition to Pap tests, young women also have the power to help protect themselves against cervical cancer by getting vaccinated. However, of the young women surveyed who believe they are at risk for cervical cancer now, only one quarter have been vaccinated against the disease.
"Many young women don't recognize the importance of protecting their cervical health," said Yvonne Collins, M.D., gynecologic oncologist with Advocate Christ Medical Center and a member of GCF. "Our goal is to educate young women about the steps they can proactively take to help prevent cervical cancer and pre-cancers. Getting Pap tests, talking to their healthcare professional about vaccination against cervical cancer and making lifestyle modifications can all make a difference in the fight against this disease."
To learn more about how to join the fight against cervical cancer, visit the GCF Web site at www.cervicalcancercampaign.org/realitycheck.
The Reality Check campaign is sponsored by the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation, with funding and editorial support by GlaxoSmithKline.
About Cervical Cancer - Cervical cancer and pre-cancers are caused by certain types of the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is transmitted by direct contact, usually sexual, with an infected person. The abnormal cells (or pre-cancers) are usually found by a Pap test, but some aggressive forms of cervical cancer may be hard to detect.
Cervical cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women in their twenties and thirties. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2009, in the United States, approximately 11,000 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer and 4,000 women will die from the disease, regardless of age.
About the Survey - One thousand and six (1,006) U.S. women between 19 and 25 years old participated in the survey in August and September 2009. This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of the GCF with funding and other support from GSK. Additional survey highlights are available at www.cervicalcancercampaign.org/realitycheck.
About the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation - The GCF is a not-for-profit organization established by the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists in 1991. Its mission is to develop and present educational programs for women who have or are at risk of developing a gynecologic cancer. Its programs are designed to raise public awareness of ways to prevent, detect and treat gynecologic cancers, and support promising, innovative gynecologic cancer research.
GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals - GSK Biologicals, GlaxoSmithKline's vaccines business, is one of the world's leading vaccine companies and a leader in innovation. The company is active in the fields of vaccine research, development and production with over 30 vaccines approved for marketing and 20 more in development. Headquartered in Belgium, GSK Biologicals has 13 manufacturing sites strategically positioned around the globe. In 2008 GSK Biologicals distributed 1.1 billion doses of vaccines to 176 countries in both the developed and the developing world - an average of 3 million doses a day.
Through its accomplished and dedicated workforce, GSK Biologicals applies its expertise to discover innovative vaccines that contribute to the health and well-being of people of all generations around the world.
GlaxoSmithKline - One of the world's leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies - is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer. For further information please visit www.gsk.com.
SOURCE The Gynecologic Cancer Foundation (based out of Chicago, IL)