Last year an estimated 10,000 women in the United States were diagnosed with this type of cancer and nearly 4,000 were estimated to have died from it. According to a Health Information National Trends survey, put out by the National Cancer Institute in 2005, only 40% of American women surveyed had heard of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and only 20% had heard of its link to cervical cancer. So, how about we increase the number of people that are aware in an attempt to decrease the number of victims?
Raise your hand if you've seen those new commercials with the young girls jumping rope singing "I want to be one less..."? The product is called Gardasil and it's promoted as being the only vaccine that may help guard against 4 types of HPV which causes up to 70% of cervical cancer and 90% of genital warts.
Now, most women already know and hopefully are receiving a yearly pap smear. The purpose for this exam is to detect cervical cancer. Well, this new controversial vaccine is for young girls and women from age 9-26. Of course the earlier you're given the vaccine, the greater the chances that it will prevent you from contracting genital warts or cervical cancer. Now you see where the controversy comes to play right? You can't go around telling women that they need to give their 9-year old baby a shot so that little Suzy won't get herpes. It doesn't go over well.
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The actual controversial argument isn't really over the vaccine itself; it's over the fact that some people believe that it should be mandatory that our children are given the vaccine. Much like the other inoculations that children are required by law to take. I guess the idea is that if we make it a requirement, that we are telling our kids that we promote sexual activity. I wonder if these are the same people that are against condoms being given out in high schools?!
Now, it's never been my place or style to tell other people how to raise their children. However, I do feel that it's important for all of us to have all the facts available so that we can make an educated choice. So, here is what I've found out about HPV:
HPV can be spread by just touching an infected area. You don't have to have intercourse. It knows no race or gender boundaries. Now I've given you the stats for America, but, since we're a global site, let me include everyone here. According to the World Health Organization, cervical cancer is the second biggest cause of female cancer mortality worldwide with 288,000 deaths yearly. About 510,000 cases of cervical cancer are reported each year with nearly 80% in developing countries: 68,000 in Africa, 77,000 in Latin America, and 245,000 in Asia.
What does this have to do with you? Maybe you're well beyond 26 and you don't have a daughter. Chances are that you have friends and family that are in this demographic. Pass this information on to them. Education and information is 90% of the battle. You can't fight what you can't see and you can't cure what you don't understand. Knowledge is power and no matter what side of the argument you're on; understand why you are on that side. Take care and precautions when it comes to your body and your health and help by protecting yourself and our children.
This is Leticia...and now you know!
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