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Cervical Health Awareness Month

Salem Creekside Newsletter - Feb 2015
Cervical Health Awareness month

As we celebrate the beginning of another new year, many people make New Year's resolutions to improve their overall health. Often, these resolutions focus on weight loss, more exercise, healthier eating, or quitting an unhealthy habit. One of the most important things you can do to stay healthy is to schedule and attend your yearly checkup with your physician.

As vigilant as most parents are about making sure their children do not miss their well-child visits, many adults tend to overlook making their own health care appointments. Whether we are too busy, cannot get time off work, or simply do not like the doctor, we often find an excuse to ignore the inevitable.

This is detrimental to your overall health. Many illnesses and diseases can be prevented or treated more effectively if the signs are noticed early, during regular yearly exams.

January is Cervical Health Awareness month, and it's the perfect time to remind women how important it is to schedule an appointment with their physicians. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted disease, and the cause of cervical cancer. Cervical cancer screenings can help identify abnormal cells early, before they become cancerous. With regular Pap smear tests, most deaths from cervical cancer can be prevented.

One of the best ways to protect against HPV is the HPV vaccine, called Gardasil.  This can be given to both females and males between the ages of 9 and 26. The vaccine's doses can be spread over a 6-month period of time. Once administered, the vaccine helps protect women from cervical cancer and vulvar cancer for the rest of their lives.  The vaccine also provides a lifetime of prevention against anal cancer, head and neck cancer, and genital warts for males and females. The vaccine's side effects are minimal and short-term, but the benefits last a lifetime. Your family practitioner and gynecologist can answer any questions you may have about Gardasil and HPV.

As you strive to make healthier choices this year, resolve to make regular checkups part of your yearly routine, and ask your doctor if the HPV vaccine is a good option for you or your child.  Cheers, to a healthy and happy 2015!