USA Health Mitchell Cancer Institute has launched a statewide campaign called “GO Teal and White” to raise awareness about how to prevent cervical cancer, which kills women in Alabama at a higher rate than any other state in the nation. The campaign will run throughout January, Cervical Cancer Awareness Month.
“Our goal is to get the word out to prevent cervical cancer by vaccination, paps and follow-up testing,” said Dr. Jennifer Young Pierce, lead of Cancer Control and Prevention at the Mitchell Cancer Institute.
The campaign calls on businesses, nonprofit organizations and supporters to hang GO Teal and White posters during January and to wear teal and white on Wednesday, Jan. 16. The RSA Towers will be lit in teal and white on Jan. 16 in Montgomery and Jan. 17 in Mobile.
A report released in November by Human Rights Watch showed that Alabama’s cervical cancer mortality ranked No. 1 in the nation, with some counties’ rates mirroring that of developing countries. “The report is incredibly disheartening — to think that there are women less than 100 miles from here who are dying of a preventable illness in the shadows of cancer centers and organizations that could provide all of the treatment they need,” Pierce said.
Joining the Mitchell Cancer Institute for the GO Teal and White campaign are the American Cancer Society, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Lilies of the Valley, Alabama Department of Public Health, the Alabama Comprehensive Cancer Control Coalition and the Laura Crandall Brown Foundation.
The Mitchell Cancer Institute offers the following recommendations to prevent cervical cancer:
- Get screened. A Pap Test is recommended every three to five years for women ages 21 to 64. An HPV (human papillomavirus) test is recommended starting at age 30.
- Follow up. Check with your physician about any abnormal screening results.
- Vaccinate. Adolescent boys and girls, ideally between the ages of 11 and 12, should be vaccinated against HPV, which causes cervical cancer.