Teal-White Ribbon - Cervical Cancer

Teal-White Ribbon Creates Awareness of Cervical Cancer

The cervix is a part of the female reproductive system and forms the lower part of the womb or the uterus. Sixty years ago, cancer of the cervix was the leading cause of cancer deaths in women. However, there has been a dramatic reduction in the incidence rates due to increased awareness and effective screening programmes since the 1940’s. The success can be attributed to widespread Pap test, commonly performed to detect cervical cancer at an early stage.

Cervical cancer accounts for 2 % of all cancers occurring in women. The exact cause of cervical cancer is unknown. HPV infection, increased sexual activity, multiple births, consumption of oral contraceptive pills (OCP’s) and immunosuppressants are some of the associated risk factors.

Celebrities to a large extent influence public perception regarding screening for cancer. Becky Hammon, a noted basketball player has been spreading awareness of cervical cancer through her active participation in a program called ‘ Choose to know’.

Saturday Night Live famous Julia Sweeney is one of those few who have managed to conquer cervical cancer. In 1995, she lost her brother to cancer. Before she could even recover from his death, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Her perseverance and determination helped her undergo complete hysterectomy and sail through 12 months of radiotherapy. A play representing the power of her way- ‘God Said, Ha!’ not only portrays her successful battle, but also promises to be an inspiration for a million other cervical cancer survivors worldwide.

Beverley Mitchell, renowned actress, is associated with the Cleveland clinic through ‘Make the Connection campaign’, targeted at spreading awareness about cervical cancer. The association between HPV virus and cervical cancer, the importance of screening (Pap test) is projected in an effective way through this campaign.

Celebrities and cancer on one side, it would not be possible to curb this dreadful disease, which has been haunting the global healthcare without a consistent individual and community participation. One should not have a screening only because a celebrity says you should. It should rather be an informed decision made between an individual and the physician, taking into consideration personal medical history and the risk ratio.

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