Rep. Moeller, Colleagues Promote Cervical Health Awareness Month in Illinois for January (Springfield, IL) — January is a time of renewal and recommitment for many. A group of legislators and advocates say it’s the right time to focus on cervical health.
State Rep. Anna Moeller and several female colleagues in the Legislature joined together Tuesday at a Statehouse news conference to discuss new legislation declaring January 2023 as Cervical Health Awareness Month in Illinois.
When the new 103rd General Assembly is sworn in Wednesday, they will officially file a House resolution calling for the special designation in January across the state.
The need for more attention to the issue is great. Cervical cancer affects 13,000 American women year, often in the prime of their lives, and 4,000 of them die. But with increased Pap testing and newer testing for human papillomavirus (HPV), the number of cases and deaths from cervical cancer has decreased significantly over the past 40 years.
HPV – one of the most common sexually transmitted viruses – now affects about 80 percent of men and women by age 45. It is a primary cause of cervical cancer, and early detection of cervical cancer is key to helping those affected survive and recover.
The disease hits minority and disadvantaged communities the hardest. The American Cancer Society reports Hispanic-Latina and Black women have the highest rates of cervical cancer cases.
There is hope, with proactive efforts. Legislators and advocates note proper HPV vaccination, screening, and treatment are formidable and effective tools in preventing the disease. COVID-19 pandemic changes dropped cervical cancer screenings by 11 percent, which raises concerns.
“We know cervical cancer can be devastating and deadly, but it doesn’t have to be,” said State Rep. Anna Moeller, D-Elgin. “We hope to use this legislation to call on all Illinoisans with a cervix and for all of their loved ones to understand the serious risks, take the steps needed for prevention and treat every January as the right time to put your cervical health first.”
Advocates note with proper awareness and proactive health care, cervical cancer has little chance. The five-year survival rate is 92 percent when detected early.
Rep. Moeller, Colleagues Promote Cervical Health Awareness Month in Illinois for January