Updated: 06/01/2009 05:13:41 PM MDT
The department’s Cancer Control Program has launched the virtual Cervical Cancer Prevention Contest to alert young people about how to prevent the disease, which is most often caused by a sexually-transmitted HPV infection, according to Whitney Johnson, health program specialist.
Participants can win a $300 spa pass, a stay in a Park City resort, an iPod with an iTunes gift certificate or other prizes. Weekly winners will be randomly drawn on June 8, June 15 and June 22.
Utahns who blog or tweet to friends and family about HPV must include one of three cervical cancer and HPV prevention messages, encouraging abstinence, vaccination or Pap smear tests. Entrants must be age 18 or older; more information is available at www.cancerutah.org/prevent.
Because most cervical cancer is caused by HPV, the contest is encouraging prevention for females ages 18 to 30.
“We’re confident that spreading the prevention message virally will better reach those who are most at risk of contracting the virus,” Johnson said in a statement.
In the United States, cervical cancer affects more than 10,000 women every year, with deaths approaching 4,000 annually.
In Utah, approximately 60 women are diagnosed with and 17 die from the cancer every year.Cervical cancer is largely preventable. Although the HPV vaccine can provide some protection, Johnson added, abstinence and regular screening with a Pap smear test are critical to early detection and successful treatment.