January is all about starting new – a New Year with new resolutions, new attitudes, new ideas, and new routines. January is also when we raise awareness about one of the most preventable forms of female cancers – cervical cancer.
Approximately 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, affecting mainly women over the age of 30. The good news is that cervical cancer is now highly preventable, due to the vaccine for HPV (human papilloma virus). HPV is one of the main causes of cervical cancer. Likewise, when cervical cancer is diagnosed early, it is highly treatable.
Here are a few tips to keep you focused on prevention and your health as you enter the New Year.
Make (and keep) your medical appointments. The best way to detect and prevent cervical cancer is to make sure to have your pap smear. So if you haven’t had yours, or are due for a visit to the gynecologist, kick off your new year with a new appointment.
Get vaccinated. Females ages 13 – 26 should be vaccinated against HPV. Remember, the HPV vaccine is the only vaccine that can actually prevent cancer. Please schedule an appointment for you or your daughter if you haven’t done so already.
Stop smoking. The CDC notes that smoking can increase your risk of cancer dramatically. There is no time better than the start of a new year to quit this very dangerous habit.
Limit processed foods. Yes, processed foods are the ultimate in convenience. Open box, open microwave, push button – done. Take a look at the nutrition label. Usually you will find that these types of foods are packed with sodium, preservatives and other additives. While eliminating them from your diet might be unrealistic, limiting your processed food intake to no more than two items a day will make a difference.
Walk. Whenever and wherever you can, walk. This simple, new routine will help boost your calorie expenditure, elevate your mood and get your blood pumping. Whether it’s walking to the grocery store or around your office building, get moving.
Eliminate empty calories. Say goodbye to sugary sodas and juices. These are empty calories that could be keeping those extra pounds in place. Give yourself a drink overhaul, and focus on water (add a slice of citrus for a kick), unsweetened tea or coffee instead.