Gynecological Cancer Awareness Month – Cervical Cancer
Cancer is something that scares almost everyone. It seems random, uncontrollable and unpreventable. Fortunately there are some things that can lessen your chances of getting cervical cancer.
The greatest success story in the fight against gynecologic cancers is the one against cervical cancer. Although cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer affecting women worldwide, in the U.S., it is the 21st most common cancer. Approximately 12,000 women will be diagnosed in the U.S. and 4,000 women will die of the disease.
Here’s what you can do lessen your chances:
If you are 21 years old or older — Get your pap smear! Also, know when your last pap smear was. If you are over 30, your pap smear should also include screening for high risk HPV. If you are less than 30, you will only have screening for high risk HPV if your pap smear is abnormal.
Because we have learned a great deal about cervical cancer and its association with the HPV virus, most women do not need yearly pap smears. You doctor can answer your questions about how often you should get your pap smear depending on your history and you last pap screening.
Another exciting discovery in the fight against cervical cancer is related to the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). This virus is sexually transmitted. If you are less than 26 years old – get the HPV vaccine! (This is recommended for both boys and girls since it takes two to tango, so to speak) Since our knowledge regarding the role of HPV in the development of cervical cancer has grown, we know that cervical cancer needs high risk HPV to develop. For more information on the HPV vaccine please click this link.
Don’t smoke. In addition to all the other bad things that smoking does, it makes it harder for your immune system to fight the HPV virus since nicotine is concentrated in the cervical mucus.
Please search our website or the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website for more information. Don’t hesitate to give us a call any time with questions that you may have. Also don’t forget to schedule your annual pap smear and get your HPV vaccine!