While planning my next blog post, I realized that January is National Cervical Health Awareness Month. It is important that all women (and men) became more educated on how to prevent cervical cancer before it starts and before it spreads. According to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition (NCCC), 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year in the US, and more than 4,000 lives are lost as a result. Not to mention the thousands of women who have cervical abnormalities and abnormal Pap tests for reasons other than cancer. It is time to become aware and educate those around us about this completely preventable disease.
Cervical cancer is a very serious issue, especially for women in developing countries who have no access to regular, early screening. It kills more women in developing countries than any other cancer. More than 80% of women newly diagnosed with cervical cancer live in these areas. Most of these women have never been screened, and many are diagnosed too late for recovery.
Just because these women are from developing countries does not make them more susceptible to cervical cancer. It comes down to them simply not having access to screening and treatment. “Cervical cancer is one of the easiest cancers to detect, treat, and cure when caught early.” One organization is making a difference and helping these women in developing countries; this non-profit organization is called Grounds for Health.
Grounds for Health’s mission is “to create sustainable and effective cervical cancer prevention and treatment programs in coffee-growing communities, with the goal of decreasing the rate of cervical cancer.” Some of their other goals are to “increase access to reproductive health services, educate women about cervical cancer, empower communities so they become active players in their own health and well-being, strengthen local treatment capacity, and develop links between community leaders and health-care leaders.”
Grounds for Health currently has cervical cancer prevention programs in Mexico, Nicaragua, and Tanzania. They are hoping to expand their program into Peru, too. Since being created in 1996, Grounds for Health has screened over 25,000 women for cervical cancer, trained more than 250 local doctors and nurses, and also trained 400 community health promoters. From this training, thousands of additional women are being reached and helped.
You are probably wondering how coffee is connected to cervical cancer? The connection is that most coffee-growing countries are among the poorest in the world, which means the farmers picking your beans have little or no access to health care. Grounds for Health reaches out to women in the countries mentioned above and helps them receive health care that they would not usually have access to. This results in lives being saved, and a greater chance of survival because of earlier detection of the disease.
Be aware and make a difference. Get annually checked for cervical cancer and help others who are less fortunate by making a donation to Grounds for Health here.
Remember this disease is 100% preventable and it all starts with you!
If you would like to learn more about Grounds for Health’s mission or how you can help out go here.