By the Rotary Club of LaFayette
Cervical cancer often strikes women in the prime of their lives, while they are busy building a career, raising children, and making valuable contributions to their communities. However, cervical cancer is preventable through vaccination against cancer-causing strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), periodic cervical cancer screenings, and if necessary, treatment of cervical lesions before they can develop into cancer. If girls and women can access these interventions, we can end cervical cancer as a threat to women’s health.
If we have the preventive tools at our fingertips, why is it that the state of Alabama bears the unfortunate distinction of having the highest cervical cancer death rate in the United States with Chambers County having the highest rate of cervical cancer in Alabama? Alabama’s HPV vaccination rates and cervical cancer screenings are on the decline, putting thousands of lives at unnecessary risk.
Operation Wipe Out is an initiative aimed at wiping out cervical cancer in Alabama, and we are starting in Chambers County. This initiative brings together The Rotary Club of LaFayette, the Rotary Club of Birmingham, the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center, Auburn University School of Nursing, TogetHER for Health, Quality of Life Health Services Inc., and the Alabama Department of Public Health. This spring, we are set to roll out the initiative with educational events, cervical cancer screenings, and HPV vaccination opportunities. We will be participating in the annual LaFayette Day on April 9th and invite women to join us for an opportunity to learn more about cervical cancer in Chambers County and how they can be a part of these prevention efforts that can protect them and their children from this devastating disease.
Following LaFayette Day, we will also have an Action Event on Saturday, April 30th at the Alfa Insurance Building in LaFayette from 9am to 12pm. The event will offer an informational session and question and answer (Q&A) session with a physician from the UAB Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. All women who qualify will be given the opportunity to schedule a cervical cancer screening at the Chambers County Health Department in Valley or Quality of Life Health Services Inc. in Lanett. Parents will also be given the opportunity to schedule an appointment for their eligible children to be vaccinated against HPV. So, the entire family can be protected from cervical cancer and other HPV-associated cancers.
Spouses and children are welcome at the event! We hope to get a great turnout so that Chambers County can be a leader toward the elimination of cervical cancer. It does take a village, and we are counting on you to make sure that every eligible woman in Chambers County is up to date with cervical cancer screening and every eligible child is protected against HPV.