Category: Safety

Watching TV this afternoon, I really paid attention to that new commercial from Gardasil. “What would you do to protect yourself?” The main thing being to get a PAP test and get vaccinated against cervical cancer. Good advice I suppose. I have heard commercials being played ceaselessly on our local urban radio station (I haven’t heard so many on non-urban stations) encouraging young girls to get themselves vaccinated to protect against cervical cancer. I thought this might be a good place to discuss some of the other risk factors of cervical cancer that we can encourage our daughters and young women in our community to AVOID — instead of seeing vaccination as the be-all and end-all of our cervical health. We have more control than we think:

Risk factors for cervical cancer include:

  • becoming sexually active at a young age
    Young women are more susceptible to HPV infection since the cells of the cervix are undergoing rapid change at puberty.
  • having many sexual partners
    Women who have many partners or who have sex with partners who have had many partners, have a greater chance of getting HPV.
  • HIV infection
    The immune system of a woman infected with HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) is less able to fight both the human papillomavirus and early cancers.
  • having a weakened immune system
    Immunocompromised women with chronic fatigue syndrome, women who have had organ transplants and women who are taking steroids are less able to fight HPV infection.
  • smoking
    Smoking appears to be a cofactor with HPV in causing dysplasia, which may progress to cervical cancer.

Let’s talk about these things too. Gardasil may not be talking about them (why discuss risk factors when you only have a few minutes to promote your product) but we can talk about them in our own families and communities. Any thoughts?


Last night I was reading (re-reading for probably the millionth time) Pearl Cleage’s book “Mad at Miles” where she talks about her personal struggle, loving the music of Miles Davis knowing that he was a proud and self-confessed woman beater. Two quotes from the book really stand out for me:

Miles Davis Album“I wonder how much good all those poems about beautiful African queens can do in the face of a backhand slap across the mouth and a merciless rape in the bedroom of your own house.” (p. 2)

“Can we make love to the rhythm of ‘a little early Miles’ when he may have spent the morning of the day he recorded the music slapping one of our sisters in the mouth? Can we continue to celebrate the genius in the face of the monster?” (p. 19)

QUESTION: Is the music separate from the personal behaviour of the person? Rappers are being hauled up on gun crimes every day, R&B crooners are doing the dirty with underage girls and drugs are a rampant part of the industry. How do you feel about the music when you know about the artists’ personal lives?

I admit it: I am still struggling with R. Kelly – do YOU see something wrong with a little Bump and Grind? Help me out here people!

Click on the heading to leave your comments.