MADISON (WKOW) -- An estimated 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year, but it's a disease that can be prevented.
January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month.
Marta Staple, a Meriter nurse practitioner, says most cervical cancer is caused by a virus called human papillomavirus, or HPV. She says you can get HPV by having sexual contact with someone who has it.
According to Staple, there's many ways to help prevent cervical cancer and HPV. She says practicing safe sex is the best way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, like HPV. She also says you should have regular pap smear screenings, avoid smoking, and get the HPV vaccine.
"When Guardasil is used, it has been show to reduce HPV infection by 50 percent in young women who have been vaccinated, so it's considered to be very effective," Staple said.
According to Staple, there are some side effects to the vaccine, but said very rarely are there serious reactions. She says the vaccine is FDA approved for both men and women, ages nine to 26.
Staple joined us on 27 News at 5 on Wednesday.
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