For National Cervical Health Month, the Indiana Cancer Consortium is talking cervical cancer.

In Indiana, from 2011 – 2015, there were 1,283 cases of cervical cancer and 446 deaths from the disease; an average of over 250 new cases diagnosed and nearly 90 deaths per year,  according to the Indiana State Cancer Registry. Cervical cancer is nearly 100 percent preventable, and infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV) is the single greatest risk factor for the disease.

HPV is a very common virus, so vaccination against HPV is vital to protect against cervical cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), through vaccination against HPV, routine screening, and avoiding risk factors, such as smoking, nearly all cases of cervical cancer could be avoided. The American Cancer Society’s National HPV Roundtable has great resources for public health professionals, medical personnel, and anyone interested in learning about HPV and cancer.

Hoosier women are most often diagnosed with cervical cancer during their middle adult years. During 2015, 82 percent of cervical cancer cases occurred among Indiana females less than 65 years-old, including 41 percent of cases occurring among women ages 25 to 44 and 41 percent among women ages 45 to 64.

Indiana Rep. Sharon Negel, who sponsored cervical cancer legislation, kicks off the Strategic Plan meeting.

The Indiana Cancer Consortium (ICC) joined the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) in September 2017 to kick off a strategic planning effort designed to identify and reduce the state’s number of cervical cancer cases and deaths.

For January, the ICC has teamed up with the CDC and the Indiana Immunization Coalition to screen Someone You Love, a documentary film. The film documents five different stories of cervical cancer survivors, revealing what cervical cancer survivorship can look like, including a Hoosier family mourning the loss of their daughter to the disease.