MEMPHIS, Tenn., Feb. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Through a new advertising campaign being launched in Memphis today, local women will soon learn more about cervical cancer screening and prevention. Cervical cancer is caused by high-risk types of the human papillomavirus (HPV) and QIAGEN, the maker of the only FDA-approved HPV test, has selected Memphis as a priority market for a new campaign to air its 30-second ad for the digene HPV Test on local TV stations starting today through April 20.
QIAGEN chose Memphis based on market research data that revealed only 32 percent of eligible women in the region were receiving the HPV DNA test despite the city having a large female population over age 30, strong insurance coverage and access to the latest in cervical screening technology. Additionally, results from a Women in Government (WIG) state assessment of cervical cancer prevention signaled the need for further concentration: Tennessee received only a "fair" rating (9 out of 22 measured data points) in WIG's "Turning Challenges Into Opportunities: The 'State' of Cervical Cancer Prevention in America 2008." Women in Government is a national, non-profit, bi-partisan organization of women state legislators.
"Our goal is to educate Memphis women about the cause of cervical cancer - high-risk types of the HPV virus - and inform women that with proper screening, cervical cancer is preventable," said Jeff Schmalz, QIAGEN's Director of Molecular Diagnostic Marketing for the Americas. "Through this local ad campaign, we hope to encourage more conversations between women and their doctors or nurses about cervical cancer prevention. Our TV ad shows that combining the HPV test with the Pap smear in women over 30, who are most at risk for cervical cancer, provides the highest level of protection."
"Unlike virtually all other types of cancer, we know the specific cause of cervical cancer and can test for it. If a woman has a normal Pap smear, but is shown to have high-risk types of HPV, we can know that she is in a higher-risk group and she can be monitored closely to ensure that cervical disease or cancer is not missed," said Dr. Joseph Santoso from West Clinic in Memphis. "Offering the HPV test underscores our commitment to providing our patients the most accurate, state-of-the-art screening techniques available. With HPV testing, we can now know a woman's HPV status. It's similar to knowing your cholesterol levels, which most people now accept as a routine way of assessing risk of potential heart disease, so that they can take action when necessary. In the same way, HPV status can help women and their clinicians assess risk for cervical disease, and enable early preventative action." With more than 40 physicians across a range of specialties, nurses and nurse practitioners in more than seven Memphis area locations, West Clinic offers a combination of cervical cancer prevention tools, including Pap testing, HPV screening and HPV vaccination - depending on a woman's age.
Educating with a Real-Life Patient Story
QIAGEN's TV ad features the real-life story of Jodi McKinney and her gynecologist, Dr. Mamie Bowers - who discovered that Jodi had cervical disease, despite her initially normal Pap smear, thanks to getting an HPV test. Jodi, her husband, children and gynecologist are such big believers in cervical cancer prevention and HPV testing that they all appear in the ads.
"Jodi's personal story of 'catching' precancerous cells before they could grow to full blown cancer is compelling. I didn't know about the link between HPV and cervical cancer when I was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2001," said Michelle Whitlock of Cordova, Tenn. "Today there are many more preventive options available, so I'm happy that women in my community will know to ask their doctors about new technologies like the HPV test." Michelle Whitlock is an active advocate of cervical cancer prevention in the Memphis region. She regularly speaks to community groups, and is a member of the Tennessee Comprehensive Cancer Control Coalition (TC4) and the Women's Cancer Subcommittee.
For more information, or to view the ad, visit www.theHPVtest.com.
About HPV and cervical cancer:
The American Cancer Society estimated that in 2008, about 11,070 women in the U.S. developed cervical cancer and about 3,870 died from the disease. Worldwide, cervical cancer is the second-most-common type of cancer that strikes women -- behind only breast cancer. Its cause, HPV, is a very common virus, infecting approximately 80 percent of all women at some point in their lifetimes. In the majority of women, the virus goes away or is suppressed by the body before it causes any problems.
About HPV testing:
A Pap smear can identify cells that have become abnormal due to HPV, while HPV testing detects the presence of the virus itself. The FDA has approved the digene HPV Test for use together with the Pap test in women age 30 and older - the group most likely to have persistent infections and most at risk of developing cervical cancer. Use of HPV testing for routine screening is recognized in guidelines issued by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Cancer Society and the American Medical Women's Association. Studies show that, on average, the combination of the digene HPV Test and the Pap identifies 95-100 percent of advanced cervical disease.
QIAGEN NV is the leading global provider of sample and assay technologies, with its global headquarters in the Netherlands. Sample technologies are used to isolate and process DNA, RNA and proteins from biological samples such as blood or tissue, and assays make these isolated molecules visible to facilitate such vital activities as biological research and detection of disease. QIAGEN has developed and markets more than 500 products as well as instruments that make their use more efficient and accurate. The company provides its products to molecular diagnostics laboratories, academic researchers, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, and applied testing customers for purposes such as forensics, animal or food testing and pharmaceutical process control. QIAGEN's assay technologies include one of the broadest panels of molecular diagnostic tests available worldwide, including the only FDA-approved test for human papillomavirus (HPV), the primary cause of cervical cancer. QIAGEN employs more than 2,600 people in over 30 locations worldwide. Further information about QIAGEN can be found at www.qiagen.com.
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