Cervical cancer – have you heard of this horrible disease? The more I talk with women and various groups they tell me they “have heard of it” but do not know the facts nor how common it actually is. It is a cancer of the cervix, the opening from our vagina to the uterus and caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV).
There are many strains of HPV, some cause genital warts, while others (mainly 2 strains) are responsible for up to 70% of all cervical cancers. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Approximately 20 million Americans are currently infected with HPV. Another 6 million people become newly infected each year. HPV is so common that at least 50% of sexually active men and women get it at some point in their lives. This means that you probably have had the HPV virus or know someone who has without even knowing because for the most part, it is symptomless. For many of us, our body’s immune system resolves it on its own. Do you have a better understanding on how cervical cancer can develop? No pap test –> no HPV Test –> symptomless –> cervical cancer. The brutal facts are that I have listened to too many young women who are in the “prime” of their lives and are now dealing with issues that are preventable. Do not be a statistic! Do not let this disease rob you of your ability to become a mother or take your life. Educate and empower yourself. Take the time to put your health first, do your own research and make the necessary appointments today.
Stop the shame, fear and protect yourself
While cervical cancer is a sexually transmitted infection (STI), we must stop the stigmas or shame. Continuing to do so will only rob the lives of so many people we love. Learn the facts! Having HPV does not mean you are sexually promiscuous, nor that your current partner has cheated on you. HPV can be spread through oral, anal, and vaginal sex, and can be present for 10 years without you even knowing. There are also two vaccines available Gardasil and Cervarix for women and men. Ask your medical doctor for more information to see if you are eligible to receive these vaccinations and get yourself, your daughters and sons vaccinated. Take a moment to acknowledge any fears you may have and then LET IT GO! A diagnosis of cervical cancer does not mean a death sentence! In fact our founder Tamika Felder, is a cervical cancer survivor along with the New York Chapter President, Patti Murillo-Casa.
Walk to Beat the Clock
The New York chapter of Tamika & Friends, Inc., the amazing organization that I am proudly 1st Vice President of, will be having a 5K “Walk to Beat the Clock”. It is our way of raising awareness, honoring those women who have passed and celebrating survivors, advocates and our friends. This year I ask you to come join us in our moment of solidarity and help us make a statement that we will no longer remain complacent and walk to beat cervical cancer, which takes the life of a woman every 2.5 hours.
Men are also welcome and encouraged to come to the walk. Why? Because HPV affects you too! Throat cancer, commonly seen in those who have a history of smoking and heavy drinking, is also caused by the HPV virus. The actor Michael Douglas’ throat cancer, believed to be located at the base of his tongue is where those cancers caused by HPV originates. No one is immune, this virus and cancer does not care what race you are or how much money you have.
Blessings to you all!
This years walk will be filled with an overwhelming amount of positive energy, support and surprise appearances from my celebrity friends. Form a team, come on your own and meet new friends, or consider sponsoring or donating to our cause if you are unable to make it. It will however surely be a day you will not want to miss!! As always, I am humbled that you take the time to speak to me personally or through my blogs, sharing your own journeys. Thank you for your continued support and love.
xxoo Ms. New York Belleza Latina 2011