Observing Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Happy Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month! This month, we pay tribute to the generations of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who have shaped America’s history. Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month originated with Congress in the late 1970s and is recognized and celebrated worldwide today!

We are celebrating by honoring some of our resilient Cervivors and continuing to spread awareness to reduce health disparities within the community but first, let’s take a look at some of the glaring statistics.

In 2022, the American Cancer Society released their Cancer Facts & Figures report stating the rates of new cancer cases and the rates of cancer deaths among Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders varied widely, mostly because of significant differences in exposure to cancer risk factors.

Of these findings, they found that:

  • Cancer is the leading cause of death in the Asian and Pacific Islander population in the US.
  • In 2022, an estimated 14,100 cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed and about 4,280 deaths will occur in the US.
  • Large variations in cancer occurrence within the API population reflect diversity in terms of geographic origin, language, acculturation, and socioeconomic status.
  • According to the US Census Bureau, in 2020, 20% of Black and 17% of Hispanic/ Latino populations lived below the poverty line, compared to 8% of non-Hispanic White (White) and Asian populations.
  • In addition, in 2019, 10% of Black and 19% of Hispanic/Latino populations were uninsured, compared to 6% of White and 7% of Asian populations.
  • Cervical cancer incidence rates among Cambodian, Vietnamese, and Laotian women decreased dramatically from 1990 to 2008, a change that has been attributed to increases in screening and treatment in these groups.
  • The use of the Pap test within the past 3 years is highest among Filipino women (83%, the same rate as in non-Hispanic whites), and lowest among Chinese women (66%).
  • The 5-year relative survival rate for cervical cancer is 66% overall, but ranges from 39% for Black women 65 years of age and older to 79% for White women under 50, and from 92% for localized-stage disease to 18% for distant-stage.

Meet some of the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in our Cervivor community who want to change these statistics!

Meet Arlene, a Washington state Cervivor who recently shared her story to help make a difference in her community. She says, “In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and Mental Health Awareness Month, I am humbled to share Part 1 of my cervical cancer journey! It’s time to RISE UP and be a voice! I am no longer ashamed!”

Meet Gina, a cervical cancer patient residing in Maryland. She just learned a year ago about her cancer diagnosis less than a week after turning 32, and 13 weeks after learning she was pregnant. Hear directly from Gina as she shares her story in our CervivorTV video below – We know you will appreciate, empathize with, and want to share with your networks.

We are also super excited to highlight California Cervivor, Joslyn Chaiprasert-Paguio. We love Joslyn because of her energy and advocacy, and if you’ve listened to the first episode of Season 2 of the Cervivor Podcast, you know we are happy to announce that she will be taking over as the host of the podcast! Joslyn will be bringing a new perspective as a Gen Z-er and as a recurrent cervical cancer survivor. Join us in wishing Joslyn success in this new role and get ready for a new season of robust conversations to help us cope, heal, learn and thrive. Don’t forget to visit the Cervivor Podcast on your preferred listening platform and subscribe to get alerts about new episodes!

The Asian culture rarely discusses below-the-belt talk, awareness of, and the knowledge of how important their checkups with their healthcare providers are and they are highly underrepresented in our public health data, however, storytelling has made a difference in the population by increasing the awareness of HPV, cervical cancer prevention screenings, and vaccination. Studies have shown an increase in a more positive outcomes in health data.

Beyond Arlene, Gina, and Joslyn’s stories, visit Cervivor.org to meet other cervical cancer survivors repping the Asian and Pacific Islander communities and share their stories this month with your networks!

What’s your story? Are you a cervical cancer survivor? Your story matters. Share your cervical cancer story and make a difference. Click this link to follow our easy-to-use template.

The Cervivor Podcast: Season 1 Recap

In anticipation of the Season 2 release, we’re taking a look back on Season 1 of the Cervivor Podcast hosted by our very own Founder and Chief Visionary, Tamika Felder. It was a season where we laughed, cried, and learned from guests during Cervivor School 2017. We give honor and observance to those featured in these podcasts that are no longer with us. To be able to hear their voices, laughter and transparency is a special treat for us. We hope you think so, too.

If you haven’t listened to Season 1 yet, take a moment and do so now – currently available on Anchor.fm, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts, Radio Public, and Spotify.

Recap by Episode:

  1. Cervivor’s “Most Enthusiastic” awardee, shares all the things we wanted to know but didn’t want to ask in “Dry Panties, Depends, and Urine. What Does This Have to Do with Cervical Cancer?” Turn the volume all the way up and be proud as you listen to Holly Lawson talk about obstacles during diagnosis.
  2. “Everybody’s voice makes a difference,” says Erica Frazier Stum whose school-aged son knows his mother may be gone sooner than she should be. This podcast episode is a special treat hearing Erica’s voice posthumously who passed away in 2019.
  3. “Education 101: What is Lymphedema?” Heather Banks drops a few jewels around compression undergarments, drainage, swelling, and giving yourself grace when you just … can’t. 
  4. Balancing school, work, her grandmother’s dementia, and an unexpected stage 4 cervical cancer diagnosis, Teolita Rickenbacker says she found her calling amidst an overwhelming period. “It’s nothing wrong with having cervical cancer; it’s nothing wrong with having any kind of cancer. It’s just how you define it.” Listen to “The Will to Live: How Faith Got Her Through a Cancer Diagnosis.”
  5. In “Acceptance of Death: How She is Making Her Story Matter,” Lisa Moore shared her story of diagnosis, kidney failure, and coming to grips that once she passed, her 30-year-old husband would likely start a family with someone else. “I have accepted death. I’m done being stuck, I’m done being treated. I’m ready to just live my life … it’s a different kind of hope.”
  6. The aftermath of a car accident reveals Sierra Thetford has cancer, but despite a six-month prognosis to live, she sought solace in sharing her story and becoming a gym rat. Listen to “Wrecking into Cancer: How the Gym Became Her Refuge.”
  7. Lynn Tromp talks about cervivorship globally and being open to new experiences, “I trusted my medical doctor. He spoke to me with confidence. Even though it was a trial, he spoke to me with confidence,” said Lynn who lives in South Africa. Listen to “Cancer in another country: A Tell-all From South African.”
  8. In “Toxicity in Relationships: Coping with Cancer,” Dr. Ramani Durvasula talks with Tamika Felder about feminism, narcissistic relationships, and convoluted thoughts that we can experience during diagnosis and treatment. 

Season 2 of the Cervivor Podcast is moving past the archives. Join us on Friday, May 13, 2022 for the Season 2 Episode 1 release!

We’ll be welcoming our first guest, Joslyn Chaiprasert-Paguio. Joslyn was diagnosed with the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) at the age of 18 and with cervical cancer at the age of 24. She shares her story to encourage women and future generations, like her daughter, to advocate for themselves and make their health a priority. You’ll also hear what else you can expect on this Season of the Cervivor Podcast.

For more Cervivor-related content, check out our award-winning YouTube channel, CervivorTV. Follow Cervivor on all social media platforms and sign up for our newsletter. If you would like to be interviewed for upcoming Cervivor Podcast episodes or to request content or speakers for future episodes, fill out this form or contact us at info@cervivor.org.