For all women, there is no better time than the present to take cervical health seriously. The cervix is yet one more body part that women need to pay attention to, because in some cases abnormal cells in the cervix could lead to cancer and other health complications.
Statistics on the status of cancer were just released this week during January, which is Cervical Health Awareness Month.
Although the annual report to the nation on the status of cancer states that death rates have declined for all types of cancer, there has been an increase in incident rates for certain types of cancer, such as anus and oropharynx cancer.
These two types of cancer are affiliated with human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV can also cause cervical cancer. The report includes statistics from 1975 to 2009 (the most recent statistics to date).
Despite the slight decrease in cervical cancer incidence rates and death rates from 2000 to 2009 according to the report, this type of cancer is still burdensome for many women.
During this awareness month, experts let women know just how cervical health and cancer can fit into the big picture of overall health, including mental health.
For women who are diagnosed and living with cervical cancer, mental health can take a major blow at times.
Rachana Vettickal, a licensed social worker and mind-body therapist at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) at Midwestern Regional Medical Center, said in an email that emotions of women and their families can be negatively impacted by a diagnosis of cervical cancer.
“Many emotions can surface through their journey, including self-image, self-esteem, intimacy and fertility issues,” Vettickal said. “Mind-body therapy can help women process these challenging emotions and fears, and aid them in the healing process.”
She said that therapists can be important resources after a diagnosis. Support groups can be valuable resources as well.
“Finding a support group comprised of other women experiencing the same feelings and emotional stress can help women feel strong and stay connected,” Vettickal said.