Empowering Lives: Cervivor, Inc. Stands Strong on International HPV Awareness Day

Today, on International HPV Awareness Day, Cervivor, Inc. stands united with individuals, organizations, researchers, providers, and communities worldwide to raise awareness about the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and its link to cervical cancer.

As patient advocates for cervical cancer awareness, we believe that education, the empowerment of survivor stories, routine screenings, and vaccination are key elements in the global mission to end cervical cancer. We celebrate the progress made and shed light on the collaborative efforts aimed at eliminating HPV-related cancers.

Education as a Shield Against HPV

Education serves as a powerful tool in the prevention of HPV and its associated cancers. At Cervivor, Inc., we emphasize the importance of understanding the risks, transmission, and consequences of HPV. By cultivating awareness, we aim to empower individuals to make informed decisions about their overall health and well-being.

The first step in preventing HPV-related cancers is understanding the virus itself. HPV is a commonly transmitted infection that can affect both men and women. With over 100 different types, some strains are considered high-risk and are linked to the development of cervical cancer. By spreading knowledge about the virus, we hope to break down the stigma surrounding HPV and encourage open conversations.

Empowering Survivor Stories

Behind every statistic is a person, and at Cervivor, Inc., we believe in the power of survivor stories. Sharing experiences helps break down barriers, reduce stigma, and create a supportive community for those affected by HPV-related cancers. Survivor stories serve as a source of inspiration, proving that a diagnosis does not define an individual’s future.

Through our private social media group we provide a safe space for HPV-related cancer survivors to share their journeys, triumphs, and challenges. By amplifying these voices, we aim to empower others, offering hope and encouragement to those navigating their own HPV-related cancer experiences. Together with our community partners, we build a network that stands strong against the impact of cervical and other HPV-related cancers.

Routine Screenings and Vaccination: A Dual Strategy

Routine cervical cancer screenings and HPV vaccination are crucial components of the strategy to eliminate cervical cancer. Screenings, such as Pap and HPV tests, can detect abnormal changes and the status of an active infection in the cervix early on, allowing for timely intervention and preventing the progression of cancer. Cervivor, Inc. advocates for regular screenings as part of a comprehensive approach to cervical health as well as the elimination of the disparities in accessing these life-saving screenings and vaccinations. 

Additionally, HPV vaccination is a proactive measure to prevent infection with the high-risk strains of the virus. Vaccination not only protects individuals from certain types of HPV but also contributes to herd immunity, reducing the overall prevalence of the virus in the community. By promoting both routine screenings and vaccination, we take significant steps toward a future where cervical cancer is rare. Check out the most recent study results from Scotland showing that vaccination is working!

A Shoutout to Our Partners at IPVS

Cervivor, Inc. extends a heartfelt shoutout to our incredible partners at the International Papillomavirus Society (IPVS). Their extensive campaign, involving organizations across the globe, has been instrumental in raising awareness and cultivating collaboration to end HPV-related cancers. We are working towards a world where no one has to face the devastating impact of an HPV-related cancer together.

On International HPV Awareness Day, Cervivor, Inc. reaffirms its commitment to educating, empowering, and advocating for those affected by HPV-related cancers. By embracing survivor stories, promoting education, and supporting routine screenings and vaccination, we strive towards the ultimate goal of eliminating cervical and other HPV-related cancers. We stand in solidarity with our partners at IPVS and the global community in the shared mission to make HPV-related cancers a thing of the past. Together, we can create a future where no one loses their life to a preventable disease.

HPV Cancer Survivors Take On Memphis

Cervivor and St. Jude partnered for an all-HPV cancer survivors school to train patient advocates representing anal, cervical, oropharyngeal, vaginal, and vulvar cancers.

The weekend kicked off with a welcome reception and special message from Founder and Chief Visionary, Tamika Felder. The evening was filled with conversation and an energizing music compilation from DJ Malone. (You better believe there was some dancing to be had – ehem, Jason).

Saturday morning started bright and early with information-packed sessions ranging from learning the basics of HPV and cancer to finding your voice and expanding the survivor advocacy footprint.

We heard from Andrea Stubbs, MPA and Administrative Director of St. Jude’s HPV Cancer Prevention Program and the important work that St. Jude has been working on in the HPV cancer prevention space. Dr. Heather Brandt gave us the latest data on HPV, HPV cancers, and what advocates need to know.

Lead Cervivor Educator, Heather Banks and Tamika Felder led the attendees through how to make their survivorship count. Their session was followed by a patient panel moderated by oral cancer survivor, Jason Mendelsohn, and featuring anal cancer survivors, Lillian Kreppel and Calvin Nokes, as well as cervical cancer survivors, Karla Chavez and Kimberly Williams.

After lunch, Visibility Coach and Founder of the REP Network, Roshanda Pratt ignited the advocacy flame in helping the attendees identify their stories in just three words. Roshanda is known for her mantra of “Visibility is power” and she has helped us understand that “Transparency is the new currency” and that it is progress over perfection in our advocacy that matters most.

We heard from Dr. Vetta Sanders Thompson, an E. Desmond Lee Professor of Racial and Ethnic Diversity and Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at Washington University in St. Louis. She gave us a psychological, data driven presentation over addressing the common concerns about HPV vaccination with an interactive activity.

The day was rounded up with a presentation by Cervivor Community Engagement Liaison, Morgan Newman on how to expand the survivor footprint followed by a session of what’s next – leaving the attendees with a call-to-action. The attendees became graduates, receiving a certificate of completion and a celebratory reception including a live band at Beale Street Landing.

Cervivor, Inc. and St. Jude are incredibly honored to have hosted 30 HPV cancer survivors now turned patient advocates from across the nation (and a few international advocates too).

We invite you to join us on March 3, 2023 for International HPV Awareness Day to help spread awareness, screening, and prevention of HPV cancers. Mark your calendars now!

Cervivor, Inc. would like to take this moment to thank St. Jude for becoming an impactful partner in furthering the mission to end HPV cancers.