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    January not only means the beginning of a new year, but it also represents something else vital to women's health: Cervical Cancer awareness.  This month, nationwide, health care providers and educators are helping bring more attention to the disease.  It's especially important for those of us living in Kentucky as our beloved Bluegrass state is one of the leaders in the nation in cervical cancer incidence and mortality.

    According to Dr. Robin Vanderpool, Assistant Professor, University of Kentucky College of Public Health and Co-Investigator of the Cervical Cancer-Free Kentucky Initiative

    "Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers, especially through early detection; however, many Kentucky women fail to get their regular Pap test and pelvic exam. Early detection and treatment of abnormal cervical changes can actually prevent cervical cancer. We want our Kentucky moms, grandmothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, and cousins to take control of their health and get screened for cervical cancer."

    As a part of the Cervical Cancer-Free Kentucky Initiative, the team strives to impact cervical cancer disparities in Kentucky through prevention of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection, timely screening and diagnosis, access to follow-up care and treatment, and changes in cervical cancer-related health policy.  Through the coordination of existing state and local resources and collaboration of partners and organizations dedicated to the elimination of cervical cancer in the Commonwealth, the Cervical Cancer-Free Kentucky Initiative will help reduce cervical cancer incidence, morbidity and mortality; improve quality of life; decrease health care costs; and ultimately, impact overall cancer disparities in the state.

    As with any cancer, early detection is the best way to treat and survive cervical cancer.  Routine Pap tests and gynocological exams are recommended for any woman who is 18 or older.  If you are curious or would like to be screened for the disease, be sure to talk to your health care provider.  Norton Hospital (3991 Dutchman's Lane) and the University of Louisville Hospital (downtown Louisville) both specifically provide Gynogologic Oncologists on staff.

    As Dr. Vanderpool explains "Women should talk w/ their health care providers, but for those women without health insurance, we would encourage them to contact their local health department to inquire about free or low cost Pap testing and HPV vaccinations."

    Ladies, take steps to become aware and proactive in your own health.  Talk to your doctor today!

    For more information, please visit: http://www.cervicalcancerfreeky.org/

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    Holly Freeland's picture

    About Holly Freeland

    I graduated from Western Kentucky University (GO Tops!) with an English and Journalism degree. I spend my time playing soccer, watching UK basketball, stalking David Beckham and laughing at Chelsea Handler.

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