January is CCAM and we couldn’t be more excited about having a whole month to bring awareness to our communities about this preventable cancer. It is estimated that about 13,240 new cases of invasive cervical cancers will be diagnosed in the United States, while 4,170 U.S. women will die from cervical cancer. While that number may seem low, for us at Cervivor, it is 4,170 TOO MANY.
Most importantly, we know the cause of cervical cancer – HPV. The human papillomavirus (HPV), is very common. There is a safe and effective vaccine to protect against this virus, that can be given to boys and girls before exposure. How exciting that we have a vaccine to protect against CANCER!!!
At Cervivor, we put the focus on our stories. We share our stories of HPV and cervical cancer in hopes that others will not have to face the devastation of this disease. Our organization provides support for those facing cervical cancer, as well as those who are learning to walk in survivorship. Many of us have felt the shame and stigma associated with our cancer. However, we find that together we are stronger. We find that sharing our stories not only helps us to heal but it also makes us powerful advocates. We find that sharing our stories makes us shame resilient.
How can you be involved?
CCAM is a unique opportunity for us to focus on prevention and awareness every day. Throughout the month, we will have regular CCAM posts on social media via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. These posts are designed to educate those in our network and beyond. We will be sharing our Cervivor stories , videos, blogs, and graphics to show the world that cervical cancer doesn’t have to happen to them or someone they love.
We also have several live events scheduled throughout the U.S., in addition to a CCAM Tweetchat on January 16.
There is something about the start of a school year each August, that brings excitement. We go shopping for new clothes, fresh school supplies, and the perfect lunch box. It can feel like New Year’s as we look at a new academic year, with new instructors, and a clean start. August is also National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). As you and your family are preparing for an amazing school year, Cervivor wants to remind you to make sure the kiddos are “back to school ready” by ensuring they are current on their immunizations, including the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine.
At Cervivor our community is committed to staying engaged in the immunization conversation year-round. We regularly share our Cervivor stories in hopes to change the narrative and stigma around HPV related cancers and the importance of the lifesaving HPV vaccination. We routinely share out on social media, as it is a quick yet powerful way to show our cervical cancer journey and to remind people in our lives that it is almost always preventable. In honor of NIAM, we wanted to share what we’ve been up to in our fight to end HPV related cancer.
Elizabeth Holliman is a longtime Cervivor Ambassador whose oldest son was finally eligible for the HPV Vaccine this month. Elizabeth is making sure R.J. is protected: I vowed to protect my sons from the HPV strains that can cause cancer, it can be prevented by the vaccine. Here’s my R.J. getting his first round of the vaccine today. I never want my kids to go through what I did, or many others have when it’s preventable. It’s just that simple. There was no hesitation. When you know better, you do better.
Scott Courville is an oropharyngeal cancer survivor and an active member of our online HPV cancer support group. Scott recently had his son vaccinated and urges others to do the same: If you could prevent your child from getting certain cancers early on with a simple vaccination, why wouldn’t you?
The effort to spread truth and facts about the HPV vaccination is not just for those HPV cancer survivors with children or children eligible for vaccination. Many in our community regularly share and have been able to impact those in their network. For example, Lucy Philips is an active member of our community and will be attending Cervivor School next month in Cape Cod. She faithfully shares her journey and recently wrote to us. Lucy shares:
Having battled Cervical Cancer myself, there is absolutely no hesitation in my decision to vaccinate my children with the HPV Vaccine…. not only my daughters, but my son too! For now, my children are too young to receive the HPV Vaccine, but that doesn’t stop me from encouraging other parents to have their children vaccinated. It is amazing how many people are completely unaware of HPV and the fact that there is a vaccine which prevents the most harmful strains of HPV. I feel like it’s my responsibility to inform other parents and share with others my own personal battle with an HPV related cancer. A friend from work recently scheduled her son to have the HPV Vaccine and this is what she sent me:
“I never considered vaccinating my boys until listening to everything you went through. I wasn’t even aware that boys were at risk of HPV or HPV related cancers. If I had known, I would have vaccinated my boys sooner! My 17-year-old son just received the vaccine and my 15-year-old son will be receiving it soon. I will do anything within my power to make sure my boys do not suffer from something that is completely preventable”. – Kelly Green
Cervivor Ambassador Holly Lawson doesn’t have children. However, she frequently shares her cervical cancer journey with those in her social media network. Just last month, she shared a message from a college friend who had been impacted by following her posts: Thank you for sharing your story and updates. I thought you might like to know you have encouraged our family. My 11-year-old got the HPV vaccine because you shared how important it was. It was you who made that so clear to me about how important that was. His doctor felt it was important as well, but your story made it real to me and helped me see past the fear of that vaccine.
What testimonies to the power of sharing our stories and making a difference! The HPV Vaccination is safe, effective, and is cancer prevention. This month as you’re preparing the kiddos with new clothes, shoes, and school supplies, why not make sure they are prepared for a future that is FREE of an HPV related cancer? You can’t protect them from everything, but you can protect them from high risk strains of HPV. Act now, to protect them later.
Schedule an appointment to speak with your doctor or pediatrician today.