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Faculty member raises awareness for cervical cancer this month

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Every two minutes, a woman will die of cervical cancer somewhere in the world, according to American Medical Centers.

In honor of Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, one TCU faculty member is educating others on campus about the deadly disease.

Dr. Suzanne Lockwood, director of the university’s Center of Oncology Education and Research, answered questions and spoke about cervical cancer prevention and awareness on Thursday at the Cervical Cancer Awareness Luncheon sponsored by Human Resources.

“It’s a cancer that we can cure and prevent,” Lockwood said. “It’s a cancer that we shouldn’t have women dying from.”

Cervical cancer was the most common cause of cancer death for women in the United States before the development of the Pap test and the more recent vaccination for Human Papillomavirus (HPV), Lockwood said. HPV is a sexually transmitted disease and the leading cause of cervical cancer for women, she said.

According to the American Sexual Health Association, 74 percent of sexually active Americans have been infected with HPV at one point in their lives. Lockwood said cervical cancer prevention begins with educating college students about HPV and making sure both college-aged women and men get the HPV vaccination.

“It is less common for men to receive the vaccination, and because there is no test for men or symptoms, men unknowingly pass HPV to women,” Lockwood said.

Seth Block, a junior political science major, said he had not received the vaccination. He said he doubted that many men at TCU have been vaccinated.

“Maybe guys don’t get vaccinated because they don’t know they can contract HPV,” Block said. “Many probably think it ‘won’t happen to me, so I don’t need to get it’.”

While abstinence and the vaccination are the best ways to prevent HPV, Lockwood said other preventative measures are practicing safe sex and limiting the number of sexual partners.

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