Microbiology Is ... Your Microbiome, Your Health
Dr. Filipa Godoy-Vitorino, Ph.D. discusses the importance of a healthy microbiome and discusses ways we can keep our microbiomes functioning properly in order to prevent diseases, such as cervical cancer.
What's the Issue?
You are your microbiome. The billions of microbes that live on and inside each of us are critical for regulating and maintaining our health, whether in the gut, vagina, nose or on the skin. Malfunctioning microbiota can lead to issues related to development, obesity and cancer.
Decades of research suggest that disruption of the cervical microbiome is a major factor that puts women at risk of developing cervical cancer due to infection with high-risk human papilloma virus (HPV). Cervical cancer is highly preventable through vaccination and early detection, yet it remains a major public health problem worldwide, particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean:
- Mortality rates due to cervical cancer in Latin America and the Caribbean are 3 times higher than in the United States.
- Puerto Rico has the highest age-adjusted incidence for cervical cancer in the United States.
- Screening levels for cervical cancer in the region do not meet the U.S. Center for Disease Control’s “Healthy People 2020” recommendation of 93%.
How to Get Involved
Understanding how microbiomes work is critical for microbiological research and disease prevention. For more information about the human microbiome, and to learn about the latest guidelines on cervical care, check out the links below:
- Pap screening care and early detection.
- Preserving microbiomes for future generations.
- Studying Microbiome Dynamics for Cervical Cancer Prevention in Hispanics.
Interested in learning more about scientific research happening in the Caribbean? Check out these organizations:
- AAAS Caribbean Division.
- Puerto Rico Society of Microbiologists.
- University of Puerto Rico Microbiome Lab.