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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

KENTUCKY: Cervical Cancer: There's an App for That


Courier Journal (Louisville) (02.12.12) - Thursday, February

A new Facebook application aims to raise awareness of cervical cancer and ways that it can be prevented. The app is part of "Cause the Movement," a Cervical Cancer-Free Kentucky Initiative education and prevention campaign.

"We want to get the message to where we know people are getting their information, and Facebook, Twitter, and websites are 'the thing,'" said Dr. Baretta R. Casey, the initiative's director.

The app can be found at Facebook users' pictures are incorporated into an educational video on cervical cancer. "Their friends' and family's faces will actually come up into the video," personalizing the topic, said Casey. Her group, based at the University of Kentucky, was founded 18 months ago through a partnership with the Rural Cancer Prevention Center at the UK College of Public Health to reduce cervical cancer's impact on the state. Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline provided unrestricted funding.

This year, Kentucky will see 180 new cervical cancer cases, while Indiana will record 250, American Cancer Society figures show. Kentucky's incidence rate of 8.2 cases per 100,000 in 2008 ranked it among the 25 worst states, according to federal data. Indiana's incidence rate was 6.9 per 100,000.

Cervical cancer is "considered a preventable disease," said Dr. Sharmila Makhija, chair of the OB/GYN and women's health department at the University of Louisville.

"From the time that you're exposed to [human papillomavirus] to the time that changes start occurring on the cervix can be up to 20 years, and if you're getting regular Pap smears, we can catch those changes very early, and this is very easily treated," said Dr. Kimberly Bernard, an OB/GYN with Norton Healthcare.

Getting young people immunized against HPV prior to exposure is also a goal of the campaign, Casey said.


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