There were no flashing lights or red flags that let 4,000 women across this country know cervical cancer was coming.
Most of these women – the majority of whom were under the age of 65 – are survived by friends and family who miss their presence daily.
All of these women – casualties of an illness that is 100 percent preventable – should still be here today.
Although the pink ribbons we see each October may be more prevalent than the teal and white emblems symbolizing cervical cancer awareness in January, 12,000 women in this country are diagnosed with the disease annually.
Today we have the resources to make cervical cancer a thing of the past. In addition to Pap smears that can lead to early detection, young women under the age of 26 may receive a vaccine against HPV, the leading cause of cervical cancer. It is important – and potentially life-saving – that every young woman meets with her doctor to discuss these preventative measures.
In New Jersey, this is a time to consider how crucial funding for women’s health centers is. When Governor Christie cut $7.5 million of this support from the budget, he denied many women access to the examinations and care that help prevent and treat diseases that most affect them, including cervical cancer. As a husband and the father of two daughters, one would expect that the governor would acknowledge the gravity of this funding.
This is not about our principles and personal beliefs; it’s about memorializing the 4,000 women who died last year by making sure that we learn, act, and move forward.
I urge you to join me in informing the women in your life - and those who love and depend on them - about the risk of cervical cancer this month and every month.
Senator Barbara Buono
18th Legislative District