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When Disease is Preventable

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It is never easy to lose someone to death, even if you have been prepared for it in advance. Having lost one parent quickly to a heart attack and another parent to a long-term cancer I have experienced both.

The ones that I believe are the hardest to endure are the ones that are preventable.

In addition, there is a difference between being able to prevent something and never having known that there was anything that you could do to prevent it. This is what happens to hundreds of thousands of women across the world each year -- those who have never heard the words "human papillomavirus".

While a significant number of these women live in third-world countries with little if any medical care or screening, women living in well-developed countries with well-developed screening schedules such as the United States, shouldn’t become too comfortable. On average, one woman dies every two minutes from cervical cancer.

This country overcame significant death rates and disabilities from diseases such as smallpox, polio, mumps, and measles in its earlier years through the use of one major agenda -- vaccination. There was a time, however, when children were not allowed out to play for fear they might contract one of these conditions.

Eventually a child’s entrance into school became contingent upon proving that the child had received certain vaccinations in order to protect the overall welfare of its children.

We still continue this today and have added such diseases as Hepatitis B and Meningitis however there is one vaccination which, while recommended, is not contingent upon school admission -- HPV.

HPV, unlike these other diseases are considered sexually transmitted as opposed to through general human contact (coughing, sneezing) so it is not necessary for school admission.

But HPV has been found in the saliva (as is hepatitis B) and as a parent I have often seen children share a can of soda or boys a bottle of Gatorade. Someone obviously needs to interject some common sense into the development of these policies.

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February 22, 2012 - 8:29pm

Thank you so much for sharing this article, Bonnie. I lost my older sister to cervical cancer and am very familiar with the difficult emotions that come along with knowing that the disease might have been prevented if caught early on. I am thrilled to see EmpowHER helping to raise awareness of HPV prevention and screening!

February 22, 2012 - 4:02pm
(reply to hkenney)

Thank you for your comments. I have dealt with HPV for 25 years and in addition to being an international speaker am a freelance writer as well. I have been an HPV advocate for some years and you may wish to visit my website: thehpvsupportnetwork.org and blog along with other social network links for Facebook and Twitter.
I'm sorry to hear about your sister and hope that you yourself have chosen to get vaccinated against this virus. Best wishes. Bonnie

February 22, 2012 - 8:39pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.