Many people likely don’t realize that the human papillomavirus, or HPV, is one of the most prevalent sexually transmitted diseases in the United States. This means 79 million Americans, both men and women, currently carry the virus, which in some cases can lead to cervical cancer. In fact, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) estimates more than 12,000 women were diagnosed with the disease in 2014 and tragically about 4,000 women succumbed to it.
Fortunately, there is good news: cervical cancer is almost always caused by HPV and the biopharmaceutical industry was able to develop groundbreaking vaccines to help prevent the virus. In fact, there are six vaccines that have been approved to prevent HPV and nine approved to treat cervical cancer. These innovations have contributed to a 45 percent decline in cervical cancer incidence rates and a 49 percent decline in mortality rates since 1980.
In light of Cervical Health Awareness Month and as we get ready for a new year, we hope to continue pushing for further advancements to minimize the threat of a virus and cancer that can easily go undetected. It is so important to get the word out about the availability of live-saving vaccines that can stop the virus in its tracks. During January, make it your resolution to spread the word about the simple step women can take to protect themselves from a potentially life-threatening disease.