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'Hollywood On the Hill' - A Red Carpet Event on Capitol Hill Raises Awareness for Cervical Cancer Prevention and HPV-Related Technologies
Date:2/4/2008

WASHINGTON, Feb. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Legislators, women's health advocates and policy makers on Capitol Hill attended a "Hollywood-style" red carpet event last week to mark the conclusion of Cervical Cancer Awareness Month and kick off awareness efforts for the rest of the year. The event, hosted by the National Council of Women's Organizations (NCWO), invited special guests to walk the red carpet for the premiere screening of a film featuring real women who share their stories of triumph over cervical cancer. The film highlighted women and their doctors who reveal how advancements in screening and prevention made a difference in their lives and health.

"'Hollywood on the Hill' was a creative way to bring attention to progress in the fight against cervical cancer and the distance yet to go. By educating women and Congressional decision makers about advances against this deadly disease, we're empowering them to take action," said Susan Scanlan, Chair of NCWO.

NCWO's Women's Health Task Force advises that there are several important points that women should understand in order to communicate effectively with their healthcare providers. Among them:

-- HPV testing is FDA-approved for use in women aged 30 and older in

conjunction with a Pap test. A Pap test alone is accurate 50 to

85 percent of the time, depending upon the type of Pap used. Adding an

HPV test to a Pap test in women aged 30 and older increases the

clinicians' ability to detect pre-cancerous cells to almost

100 percent. This allows for treatment that prevents cervical cancer

from occurring or detection and treatment of cervical cancer in its

early, most treatable stages.

-- The HPV vaccine was FDA-approved in 2006 for girls and women aged

9-26 and it's recommended by the CDC for routine use in girls ages

11 and 12. The vaccine has been shown to be 100 percent effective --

in women not previously infected with HPV -- at preventing cervical

disease caused by the HPV types 16 and 18, which are responsible for

approximately 70 percent of all cervical cancers.

-- Screening remains essential, even after girls and women are

vaccinated. Screening with the Pap and HPV tests will help prevent

cervical cancer from HPV types not covered by the vaccine, and protect

women who were infected by HPV before receiving the vaccine

Worldwide, cervical cancer is the second-most-common type of cancer that strikes women -- behind only breast cancer, resulting in 288,000 deaths a year. Experts now know that cervical cancer is caused by HPV, the human papillomavirus. This year, the American Cancer Society reports that 11,150 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer and almost 4,000 women will die of the disease in the United States. New advances in HPV-related prevention and screening can potentially save thousands of women's lives and reduce suffering for many thousands more women.

"I was surprised to learn what a direct impact HPV testing had for the women featured in the film; and I was equally surprised to learn that the discovery of cervical pre-cancer and cancer in these women after years of normal Pap tests caused their doctors to commit to change the way they screen women," said attendee Carolyn J. Williams who is Vice President of the Coalition of Labor Union Women and Director of the IBEW Human Services Department. "It's clear that if more women and their healthcare practitioners understood how the HPV test and the HPV vaccine can improve on the Pap's history of reducing cervical cancer, we will see fewer women getting cervical cancer."

"Women shouldn't suffer or die from cervical cancer. By combining these new technologies and urging women to be screened, almost every case of cervical cancer can be prevented," said Scanlan. "It's important that women get the facts about the right cervical cancer screening options for them so they can make informed decisions in conjunction with their healthcare providers."

For more information about "Hollywood on the Hill" and to find out what you can do, please visit http://www.say-something.org/hollywood.html.

This event was sponsored by an unrestricted educational grant from QIAGEN.

About Cervical Cancer and HPV

Nearly all cases of cervical cancer are caused by "high-risk" types of HPV, a common sexually transmitted infection. While most HPV infections go away without treatment, the presence of HPV, particularly evidence of chronic infection with HPV, indicates increased vulnerability to cervical cancer and the need for adherence to a regular screening schedule.

About NCWO

Formed in 1983, NCWO is a nonpartisan umbrella organization of more than 230 women's groups that collectively represent over 11 million women across the United States. NCWO members collaborate through substantive policy work and grass roots activism to address such issues of concern to women as workplace and economic equity, education and job training, affirmative action, Social Security, childcare, reproductive freedom, and health. NCWO is the only national coalition of its kind. For more information, visit http://www.womensorganizations.org.


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SOURCE National Council of Women's Organizations
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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