FRANKLIN — When you hear people say “cancer prevention” they are usually talking about steps we can all take to lower our risk of getting cancer, like quitting smoking and wearing sunscreen every day.

For a few types of cancer, including cervical cancer, “cancer prevention” includes getting a vaccine to prevent it. Since January is Cervical Health Awareness Month, Franklin VNA & Hospice announced what people can do to prevent cervical cancer, including getting the HPV vaccine.

Each year, more than 11,000 women in the United States get cervical cancer. Almost all cases are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV), a very common infection that spreads through sexual activity. The HPV vaccine (shots) can prevent HPV. For those who have HPV, cervical cancer can often be prevented with regular screening tests and followup care.

Regular cervical cancer screenings can help detect cell changes early, before they turn into cancer. Most deaths from cervical cancer could have been prevented by regular screenings and followup care.

So, starting this January, make a point to encourage women to get their well-woman visit this year. Most insurance plans cover well-woman visits and cervical cancer screening. This means that, depending on their insurance, women can get the services at no cost to them.

If you are a parent, take the important step of getting your pre-teen vaccinated against HPV. Both boys and girls need the vaccine.

Not a parent? Encourage the people with children in your life to learn about the need for their child to receive the HPV vaccine.

What better New Year’s resolution is there?

Check out healthfinder.gov for resources and information.

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