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Annual Cervical Cancer Benefit
Featuring the NiteLighters
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Welcome to KristenzKure.org
Kristen Herrera-Hixson, was born January 20, 1980, in the city of San Jose, California. Kristen was a mother of three children; ages 2 years, 9 years & 14 years old. She was a devoted wife, daughter, grand-daughter, sister, niece, cousin & friend.
In June of 2009, Kristen was diagnosed with Cervical Cancer. She was a fighter to the end and fought a long strong battle never giving up hope. Kristen lost her battle in April 2011 and will be forever missed. In her memory and honor, her battle will continue through KristenzKure, a Non-Profit Organization which is dedicated to raising awareness of cervical cancer, HPV (human papillomavirus) and the importance of early detection.
The KristenzKure foundation supports the women currently fighting cervical cancer, celebrating those who’ve won their battle and of course honoring the taken. KristenzKure’s goal is to raise awareness and to find a cure.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) has been found to be associated with several types of cancer: cervical, vulvar, vaginal, penile, anal, and a few head and neck (oropharyngeal) cancers. Each year, more than 20,000 HPV-associated cancers occur in women; cervical cancer is the most common. More than 11,000 HPV-associated cancers occur each year in men; oropharyngeal cancers are the most common.
Genital human papillomavirus (also called HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI).
The cervix is the lower part of the uterus (womb). It is sometimes called the uterine cervix. The body of the uterus (the upper part) is where a baby grows. The cervix connects the body of the uterus to the vagina (birth canal). The part of the cervix closest to the body of the uterus is called the endocervix. The part next to the vagina is the exocervix (or ectocervix). The 2 main types of cells covering the cervix are squamous cells (on the exocervix)and glandular cells (on the endocervix). The place where these 2 cell types meet is called the transformation zone. Most cervical cancers start in the transformation zone.
Most cervical cancers begin in the cells lining the cervix. These cells do not suddenly change into cancer. Instead, the normal cells of the cervix first gradually develop pre-cancerous changes that turn into cancer. Doctors use several terms to describe these pre-cancerous changes, including cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN), squamous intraepithelial lesion (SIL), and dysplasia. These changes can be detected by the Pap test and treated to prevent the development of cancer (see “Can cervical cancer be prevented?”).
Cervical cancers and cervical pre-cancers are classified by how they look under a microscope. There are 2 main types of cervical cancers: squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. About 80% to 90% of cervical cancers are squamous cell carcinomas. These cancers are from the squamous cells that cover the surface of the exocervix. Under the microscope, this type of cancer is made up of cells that are like squamous cells. Squamous cell carcinomas most often begin where the exocervix joins the endocervix.
Most of the other cervical cancers are adenocarcinomas. Cervical adenocarcinomas seem to have becoming more common in the past 20 to 30 years. Cervical adenocarcinoma develops from the mucus-producing gland cells of the endocervix. Less commonly, cervical cancers have features of both squamous cell carcinomas and adenocarcinomas. These are called adenosquamous carcinomas or mixed carcinomas.
Although cervical cancers start from cells with pre-cancerous changes (pre-cancers), only some of the women with pre-cancers of the cervix will develop cancer. The change from cervical pre-cancer to cervical cancer usually takes several years, but it can happen in less than a year. For most women, pre-cancerous cells will go away without any treatment. Still, in some women pre-cancers turn into true (invasive) cancers. Treating all pre-cancers can prevent almost all true cancers.
Pre-cancerous changes are separated into different categories based on how the cells of the cervix look under a microscope. These categories are discussed in the section, “How are cervical cancers and pre-cancers diagnosed?”
Although almost all cervical cancers are either squamous cell carcinomas or adenocarcinomas, other types of cancer also can develop in the cervix. These other types, such as melanoma, sarcoma, and lymphoma, occur more commonly in other parts of the body.
Because HPV is so easily passed on, it is quite difficult to prevent yourself from being infected with this common virus. More than 50% of males and females will be infected with at least one type of HPV at some time in their life. But remember that most people clear HPV infection from their body without any symptoms or health problems.
If used correctly, condoms can help reduce the risk of genital HPV. However condoms don’t provide 100% protection against HPV as it is transmitted through genital skin contact not just sexual intercourse.
Cervical cancer is a disease that can be very serious. Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women worldwide after breast cancer & the leading cause of death by cancer. However, it is a disease that you can help prevent. Cervical cancer happens when normal cells in the cervix change into cancer cells. This normally takes several years to happen, but it can also happen in a very short period of time.
It is now possible to be vaccinated against cervical cancer. Currently available vaccines protect against HPV types that account for up to 80% of cervical cancer cases and the majority of pre-cancerous cervical abnormalities.
Vaccination does not protect against all HPV types that could cause cervical cancer therefore it is important vaccinated women continue with regular Pap smears.
Together, vaccination and regular Pap smears offer an ideal prevention strategy against both cervical cancer and pre-cancerous cervical abnormalities.
Speak to your doctor to see if vaccination is suitable for you.
Speak to your doctor for further information or to receive your vaccine.
Your risk of developing cervical cancer can be reduced by having regular Pap smears which are an early detection-screening program. Always make sure you receive the result of your Pap smear from your healthcare professional.
Pap smears are usually performed every 2 years, unless your GP or nurse has asked you to have them more frequently. Regular Pap smears are a very good way of picking up abnormal cells before they progress into cervical cancer. If you are or have ever been sexually active (with either male or female partners) you should be having two yearly Pap smears, starting when you are 18 to 20 years, and continuing through until age 70.
It also depends on your age and health history. Talk with your doctor about what is best for you.