The Feb. 5 issue of People magazine included a story about actress Marissa Jaret Winokur who, according to the teaser, "learned the cause of her cervical cancer and now makes sure other women know how to prevent it."
The sole cause of cervical cancer is human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted disease. Winokur contracted cervical cancer at age 27 due to previous sexual promiscuity, or to put it as ambiguously as possible, said Winokur, "I learned about a year ago that HPV, a common virus, causes cervical cancer. Now there is an HPV test that might have caught my precancerous cells earlier."
The "prevention," according to Winokur? No, not a chaste lifestyle. "There's a vaccine, which can be given to women before they're sexually active," she said in People. "It makes sense to take these precautions. I'll encourage my friends' teenage daughters to get vaccinated."
Aside from the fact Winokur has no business telling other people's children "precautions" to avoid the pitfalls of promiscuous sex, her advice stinks. Let's not address the real cause. Let's try to avoid the ramifications of the cause.
Now Winokur cannot have children because she had to have a hysterectomy. Not to worry. She plans to harvest eggs from her remaining ovaries. To do so she will have to inject megadoses of steroids into her body over a prolonged period of time. That should keep her on a healthy track - not. Winokur is currently looking for a surrogate.
Winokur and People only fuel the exploitation and health demise of women by refusing to acknowledge the only full proof way to avoid HPV or cervical cancer: abstinence.