You may know Danielle Michaud as a Sports Anchor for Sportsnet – but did you know that Danielle is also a survivor of cervical cancer? She shared her story on Cityline of when she was diagnosed at 31 years old to raise awareness about the importance of regular screenings; and, that cervical cancer is almost entirely preventable if caught early.
How common is HPV?
The Federation of Medical Women of Canada (FMWC) and the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) say it’s within Canada’s grasp to actually eliminate cervical cancers, and to reduce the risk of some other HPV-related cancers, if we all take steps to help protect ourselves, our families and friends from HPV infection.
It is estimated that 3 out of 4 sexually active Canadians will contract HPV at some point in their lives. HPV is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI). It is responsible for genital warts, and almost all cases of cervical cancer, but it can also lead to anal cancer, vaginal, and vulvar cancers, penile cancers and mouth and throat cancers. Anyone who has had sex is at risk for HPV.
There are a ranges of ways to help protect ourselves and our loved ones, prevent HPV and certain HPV-related cancers:
- Learn about STIs, including their signs, symptoms, consequences, and methods of transmission.
- Learn about safer sex methods and use them consistently. Correctly and consistently using a condom during sex may reduce your risk of getting HPV, as well as preventing other STIs. However, remember that the areas of skin not covered by the condom are not protected.
- Make informed decisions about your sexual health. Talk to your partner(s) about their STI status and the use of protection. Remember that the previous sexual behaviours of your partner are also a risk for you, especially if they have had multiple partners.
- Ask your doctor, nurse or pharmacist about HPV vaccination for you and your family members – vaccines are available in Canada, to help prevent infections from various types of HPV. If you were not immunized against HPV in school, it may not be too late.
- If you are a male who has sex with men, you are at higher risk of HPV infection, and should consider vaccination against HPV.
- If you are sexually active, talk to your doctor about HPV prevention. Remember that most sexually active people will get at least one HPV infection in their lifetime. Most people with a healthy immune system will eventually clear the infection from their bodies, but for some others, it can go on to cause genital warts or cancer. The best strategy is prevention.
To hear more from Danielle Michaud click here.
To read more information head over to Canada HPV.
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