More than 100 healthcare providers, researchers, and community advocates will come together in Greenville Jan. 7-8 for a state-wide summit to address cervical cancer and human papillomavirus (HPV)-related issues. Cervical Cancer-Free South Carolina will feature sessions on cervical cancer screening, eliminating disparities in cervical cancer, the role of the HPV vaccine in preventing cervical cancer, and advocacy and education. The opening day will include a screening of the nationally acclaimed documentary film “Someone You Love: The HPV Epidemic,” followed by keynote speaker Tamika Felder, one of five women featured in the film and founder of the national patient advocacy group Cervivor.
HPV, which can be prevented with a vaccine in childhood, is a leading cause of cervical cancer in adults but can also cause other cancers, including head and neck cancers.
According to the CDC, HPV causes more than 20,000 cancers in women and about 12,000 cancers in men annually in the United States. Each year in South Carolina, it is estimated that 170 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer and 75 women will die from the disease. HPV-associated cancers, including cervical, oropharyngeal, and other anogenital cancers (anal, penile, vaginal, vulvar), affect men and women. South Carolina ranks among the highest states in the United States for HPV-associated oral cancer in males and females.
Lead sponsors for the summit include the Greenville Health System, MUSC Hollings Cancer Center and the MUSC Department of Gynecology and General Obstetrics. Other sponsors include South Carolina Cancer Alliance, Cervivor, South Carolina Cervical Cancer Awareness Initiative, South Carolina Coalition for Healthy Families, the American Cancer Society, the College of Charleston Women’s Health Research Team, the USC Cancer Prevention & Control Program, National Cervical Cancer Coalition, Clemson University and the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.