September 24, 2009

Women urged to get cervical cancer checkups

Source: NYSUT News Wire
cervical cancer awareness project

The Coalition of Labor Union Women is promoting a campaign for September's Gynecological Cancer Awareness month to urge women to get checkups for a cancer that is nearly 100 percent preventable: cervical cancer.

"Yet in 2009 it is estimated that 11,270 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with it, and 4,070 will die from it" said Carolyn Jacobson, director of the CLUW program Cervical Cancer Prevention Works.

"Thanks to their union-negotiated health benefits, most union women have benefit plans that cover all the technologies that can prevent the disease.  Many union women, however, do not know that cervical cancer is preventable and what the tools are to prevent it, and they don't know to ask their health provider to use those tools," she said.

Experts know that cervical cancer is caused by high-risk types of a common infection — the human papillomavirus, or HPV. said Marsha Zakowski, president of CLUW. "And we now have available preventive technologies, including the Pap test, the HPV test and the HPV vaccine, to help stop this disease in its tracks."

HPV is a common, sexually transmitted infection. Approximately three out of every four adults will have HPV at some point in their lives. Most HPV infections go away without symptoms or treatment. Infections that do not go away can cause cells on the cervix to change and become abnormal. Over time, abnormal cells can slowly develop into cervical cancer.

For more information, go to www.cluw.org/cervcancer.html