Did you know that January was Cervical Cancer Awareness Month? Many don’t because it lacks a very powerful social media presence. Here are some interesting facts…
- HPV (human papillomavirus) is a sexually transmitted virus that is the most common reason for cervical cancer.
- The average age for a female to become sexually active is between 17-18 years old.
- The current health guideline recommends a PAP Test at the age of 21.
- It is recommended that a PAP Test be done every 3 years.
- According to the National Cancer Institute, more than 12,000 women in the US alone will be diagnosed with cervical cancer this year and about 4,000 of these women will die.
- At the beginning of #SWEETturnsTEAL project there were less than 4,000 posts using hashtag #cervicalcancerawareness on Instagram. That’s less than 1 post for every life lost.
To date there are 4,361 posts on Instagram with the hashtag #cervicalcancerawareness, and there are over 1,000,000 for #breastcancerawareness. While saving the “ta-ta’s” is extremely important, “saving the hoo-ha’s” should be just as note worthy. As a Cervical Cancer Survivor myself, it’s very frustrating to feel like you’re surround by sea of pink when your world is teal. Every Cervical Cancer Awareness product I have bought has been through the internet, I have yet to find anything in the stores.
To help raise awareness this month, SWEET Workout challenged its followers to wear TEAL to support Cervical Cancer Awareness Month and tag their posts with hashtag #SWEETturnsTEAL. The response was overwhelming! I would like to personally thank everyone who participated. Please enjoy the photos and stories of those who took part…
Aimee from Ohio “My middle sister Kristy was diagnosed with Essential Thrombocytosis at the age of 23: followed by myelofibrosis, which is a rare form of leukemia that typically affects older adults, when she was 26 years old. Because the average age of diagnosis with myelofibrosis is over 50 years old, very little was known about how it would impact a younger woman of child bearing age. There have only been a handful of documented pregnancies in women with myelofibrosis, and a majority of those pregnancies did not result in a live birth. Since she was engaged at the time of her diagnosis, she knew she wanted to have children someday. The management of her cancer had proved challenging as her platelet count was astronomical and it was a constant battle with her insurance to cover the medications necessary to keep her platelet levels low. Since high platelet counts are known to cause blood clots it was important that they get her platelet levels under control before she conceived. Kristy got married in August 2010 and continued to receive treatment for myelofibrosis. In early 2014 Kristy and her husband Jason announced that they were expecting their first child. She had a very high risk pregnancy, because a blood clot could have endangered her life or the baby’s life at any time. She had bloodwork done frequently to monitor her platelet levels and had to to take interferon injections to keep the cancer under control. Our family’s faith was tested as we prayed for a miracle. Our prayers were answered as she delivered a healthy, full term daughter in September 2014. Korrie is almost 5 months old now, and is a perfectly healthy little girl. Kristy is also doing well as the cancer seems to be under control for the time being. We continue to pray for a miracle for Kristy to be fully healed, which realizing that we also need to do our part in supporting research and raising awareness. Kristy is one of the strongest women I have ever met, and I hope that her story can encourage and inspire others who may be facing difficult circumstances.”
Eli currently stationed in Fort Irwin, CA “I’ve thankfully never had an immediate family member suffer from cancer, but I understand it’s a problem. I fully support anybody who is trying to educate the world and inform those around them of quick and easy identifiers or symptoms that can either save lives or educate them. I was able to read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and strongly believe that it doesn’t take a doctor to save a life. Education is knowledge and power, so what type of person would I be if I wouldn’t pass along the message? Pass it on…#cervicalcancerawareness thank you! You’re really making a difference!”
Denise from New York City “I chose to take part in Sweet Turns TEAL to raise Cervical Cancer Awareness because I believe that women at any age need to be aware of how to keep their bodies healthy and understand the changes our bodies go through so we can know how to take care of ourselves, and love ourselves. I also wanted to show support to anyone who has or has had Cervical Cancer, because it is a life changing experience, I want them (and anyone who is with them) to know that I love them, I support them, and I am proud of the strength they show and showed even during times of tears!”
April from New Hampshire “By participating in SWEET turns TEAL it gave me another reason to get up and get my workout in. Thankfully, I have not dealt with cancer on a personal level, but I know how terrible the effects of cancer are and like do my part to help fight.”
Jess from New Hampshire “Participating in the SWEET Turns TEAL Project is my way to help spread the word about Cervical Cancer Awareness. Many people know the dangers and effects of breast cancer, prostate cancer, skin or lung cancer (three of which my family has been tested for) but what they don’t know is how many women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer this year alone. About 13,000 cases of invasive cervical cancer will be treated, that’s something I think people need to understand. Spreading the word through social media is an important step we need to continue making.”
Deanna from Clemson, SC and Cary, NC “I chose to participate in this project to help raise awareness for Cervical Cancer. I’ve never been diagnosed with cancer and hope that I never do, but it effects so many women and if a few shares on Instagram can help spread the word, or remind someone to make an appointment for a Pap test, then I’ve helped to make a difference.”
Kelly from Connecticut “ I joined hashtag #SWEETturnsTEAL because I am always happy to help support and bring awareness to women’s health issues!!!”
Sarah from Lethbridge Alberta Canada “I took part in this mainly to support you! Wearing teal, and posting a photo is nothing compared to the strength it takes to battle cancer, and is the least I can do to show support and spread awareness.”
JaDee from Canton, Ohio “I have been very fortunate that no one in my immediate family (at least that I know of) has ever had to deal with a cancer diagnosis. I would love for there to come a day when everyone can say that. The reason I decided to join the SWEET turn TEAL challenge is because until that day comes, we need to spread awareness where and when we can. To be completely honest, I didn’t realize that January is cervical cancer awareness month until the challenge was issued…and that really kind of bothers me. Everyone knows about breast cancer with pink ribbons and events nationwide, and men’s cancer issues get the spotlight every November with the Movember event…why don’t other cancers get the same attention? They are all should. Every cancer diagnosis is a life changing event and NONE should be overlooked! The more we spread awareness the closer we come to a day where more and more cancers are detected early and are put in remission, and hopefully we move closer to a day where no one will have to face that diagnosis!”
Darlena from Virginia “I don’t have any immediate family members that have been affected by Cervical Cancer, but I am always willing to support and bring attention to a worthy cause. Especially women’s health issues. Both my mother and one of my sisters are Breast Cancer Survivors. Hiding the fact that these diseases exist doesn’t help anyone. The more people know, the more we get the word out the more people can be helped.”
Rosemary from Cupertino, CA “I choose part in this project bc both of my parents recently had passed away from cancer within 3 weeks apart. My dad fought prostate cancer and lost his battle afterwards. While he was fighting for his life, suddenly my mom developed an illness that we were trying to figure out why her breathing was being so short. When we found out what it was, her lungs (especially the pleura) were full of cancer and by then it had spread through her body. I had lost family time, vacations and races, money, work time, but most importantly both of them at the same time. While the funeral was happening to one, I never expected I had to prepare, in so many ways, for the next one. I had seen over and over the effects and side effects of cancer and chemo while spending time with them. People say it is a battle, and it definitely is! A battle to fight for life and for the side effects that it brings.”
Moving forward support Cervical Cancer by taking the Teal Challenge and wearing teal on Tuesday. If you would like to help support the Hampton Roads, VA NCCC Chapter, please make donations here: http://www.nccc-online.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=170
Below you will find a list of resources too if you or someone you know needs help dealing with Cervical Cancer or other female related issues.
http://www.nccc-online.org – National Cervical Cancer Coalition
http://www.nccc-online.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=170 (NCCC Hampton Roads, VA Chapter Information)
http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/ofhs/prevention/cpc// – Breast and Cervical Cancer Project (Virginia Department of Health)
https://www.facebook.com/pages/National-Cervical-Cancer-Coalition-Hampton-Roads-VA/366288086862734 – NCCC Hampton Roads, VA Facebook Page