Cervical Cancer Awareness Campaign

By: Ryan Dearbone
By: Ryan Dearbone
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Pence brought his public awareness campaign called Ending Cervical Cancer in our Lifetime to the hill.

The program's focus is to spread the word on early detection and treatment of the HPV virus.

The campaign also seeks to lessen the fatalities in the commonwealth due to the disease, which causes cancer, which has steadily grown over the years.

"We're trying to raise awareness to get Kentucky's ranking up a little bit. We have the second highest mortality rate and there's no excuse for that. We think a lot of that has to do with a lack of awareness," Pence said.

One woman all to familiar with cervical cancer, spoke to the crowd about her experience battling and overcoming it, and how this can be treated.

"I wasn't sick. I didn't have any feeling. I felt completely fine. I knew no different. So to simply just have my exam, I thought that I'd have my exam and everything would be finished and everything would be fine," cancer survivor Jennifer Washburn said.

Ten years ago, Louisville native Washburn had her focus set on starting college and beginning a new chapter of her life. She didn't realize that chapter would be written differently than she hoped.

At the urging of Washburn's mother she reluctantly went to the doctor for a routine pap smear.

"So like going to the dentist and everything else I went and had my exam and it was at that routine exam that found that I had early stage cervical cancer," Washburn said.

After undergoing treatment, Washburn came out on the other side.

Her message today was one of awareness of the Human Papilloma Virus (or HPV) and its new vaccine to young women to keep them from going through what she did.

Kentucky's Lieutenant Governor Steve Pence, who is spearheading the Ending Cervical Cancer in our Lifetime campaign said its not just a problem for women, but men as well.

"Men are the carriers of the virus and for that reason they should be aware for that reason. But men also have children and daughters and they have a wife. So this is a disease that affects us all."

Washburn said that having a pap smear test only takes a few minutes, but can be the difference in life or death.

"You go in. You have your regular exam. It takes maybe ten minutes. You leave and you learn your results later. Its something we women know to do every year," Washburn said.

According to the National Lieutenant Governors' Association, 4,000 women a year die of cervical cancer while another 12,000 to 14,000 are diagnosed with the disease annually.

For information on the Ending Cervical Cancer in Our Lifetime Campaign click here.

And for information on Human Papilloma Virus check out these sites: human-paillomavirus.hpv.com or www.thehpvtest.com.


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