Is 2015 the year you finally truly prioritize YOUR health? The majority of Americans include weight loss and possibly exercise in their New Year’s Resolutions each year…and do really well on their strict diets for a few days or maybe even a few weeks. While I absolutely applaud attention to weight and activity levels, I want to encourage you to think beyond diet and exercise for your 2015 health resolutions. (And I will spend time in future blogs this month talking more about what diets work best, but today I want to shift the focus…)
January happens to be Cervical Cancer Awareness month, so women- how about starting your 2015 Resolution list with scheduling your “annual” exam, especially if your last “annual” was way more than a year ago? The GOOD news is that screening recommendations have changed quite a bit, so women no longer need to have Pap tests every year. Current guidelines tell us for young women to have their FIRST Pap test at age 21, then (assuming tests do not show a problem) every 3 years between 21-29, and then after age 30, testing can actually occur simply every 5 years (by using both the Pap test and a specific HPV test combined).
In the United States, cervical cancer is still diagnosed in over 12,000 women per year, and tragically, still causes over 4000 deaths per year. We can do better! The vast majority of women with cervical cancer have little to NO symptoms- this is a silent killer. While prevention (with the HPV vaccine) is optimal, early detection absolutely saves lives- so do NOT put off getting your Pap test.
While most of us have run 5K’s or worn PINK for breast cancer awareness, few people know or talk about their diagnosis of cervical cancer. Tamika Felder, a now 13 year survivor of cervical cancer, is leading the charge to increase personal and community support for cervical cancer. For my fellow AUSTINITES- if you or someone you love has been diagnosed with cervical cancer (whether that diagnosis was recent or many years ago), please let them know about CERVIVOR SCHOOL- a four day learning, connecting and revitalizing retreat NEXT WEEK, starting Thursday evening, 1/15/15 through Sunday afternoon.
BOTTOM LINE: Women, if you are due for a Pap test, please move that to the top of your 2015 Resolution list!