For Mother’s Day: Flowers, Chocolates – and Cervixes?
Seems strange to talk about cervical cancer on Mother’s Day? Well, imagine this. You’re 26 years old and you’re diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer. You think you’ve beaten it, but two short years later your cancer returns and you have to have a radical hysterectomy – along with painful chemotherapy and radiation – and your doctor tells you that you’ll never be able to bear your own children.
This is what happened to me. So I think Mother’s Day seems like the perfect time to discuss how to protect your right to be a mom!
I tell you all this because this Mother’s Day will have special meaning for me. I was fortunate to be able to harvest my eggs before my treatment began. And now, five years later, after multiple attempts, my husband and I are connected with a surrogate who is about 12 weeks pregnant with a baby. It’s been a long and exhausting road, but we’re finally set to fulfill our wish of becoming parents. And the take home message – this no longer has to happen to any woman!
Which brings me back to cervical cancer. This year, more than 11,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with this disease and more than 4,000 women will die of it. Worldwide, it’s the second-leading cause of cancer in women. But no woman should lose her life or her fertility to cervical cancer! It is completely preventable if every woman knows about and benefits from the tools – the Pap test, HPV test and HPV vaccine – now available to protect them from this disease.
That’s the message that the Pearl of Wisdom™ Campaign to Prevent Cervical Cancer wants women to get – and share – in honor of Mother’s Day on May 10.
Here is what every woman should know to help protect themselves from this disease:
• Girls and women ages 9-26: Ask your healthcare provider about the HPV vaccine. It protects against the two types of HPV that cause the majority of cervical cancers. Even women who have been vaccinated will still need to be screened.
• Women age 21 or older (or within 3 years of becoming sexually active): 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.
The campaign urges women to take care of themselves by talking to their healthcare provider about screening and vaccination. And spread this message! You can help do this by wearing a Pearl of Wisdom, the global symbol for cervical cancer prevention – particularly on Mother’s Day.
More information is available at here. Visitors can also send Mother’s Day e-cards featuring “virtual” pearls of wisdom about cervical cancer prevention through the website to special women in their lives. Pins are also available for purchase at the website, with all proceeds going to the U.S. Pearl of Wisdom Campaign Fund, which supports U.S.-based cervical cancer prevention activities.
Please help me get the word out! Tell your mom, your friends, your colleagues about the Pearl of Wisdom campaign and how they can protect themselves from this disease. And on Mother’s Day, wear a Pearl of Wisdom pin in support of cervical cancer prevention. Visit PearlofWisdom.us for more information.
Thanks – and have a very happy Mother’s Day!