Wednesday, January 29, 2014

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month!

 In general, great strides have been made in the prevention of cervical cancer. We more commonly vaccinate early against strains of HPV, which are the primary cause of cervical cancer. In addition, routine screening has become better at detecting abnormalities before they can develop into cancer. This makes it even more important for women to get routine exams, not just to prevent cervical cancer, but to make sure all of their gynecological systems are healthy.

According to the CDC, while HPV is the largest determinant, other factors such as smoking, having HIV, having multiple sexual partners and having taken birth control for 5 or more years can increase your risk of developing cervical cancer. You can lower this risk by getting the HPV vaccine, not smoking and practicing safe sex. Limiting your number of lifetime sexual partners also reduces the risk of acquiring HPV and HIV.

Starting the year off with cervical cancer awareness month is a great way to remind women make their gynecological appointments if they are due for one. Patients should write down any changes or concerns before visiting their doctor to make sure nothing is forgotten during the appointment.  In addition, doctors should encourage patients to voice possible issues, and give them time to think about any abnormalities they may have not mentioned initially. It is important to rule out cervical cancer if the symptoms are there, and make sure that patients is follow-up after testing. While it can be scary, early detection and dedicated follow up can mean the difference between life and death. We have already proven that cervical cancer can be beaten, and it is important to instill that mindset into every patient it effects. 

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1 comment:

  1. In its early stages, cervical cancer typically does not cause symptoms. It may be detected on Pap screening and subsequent testing even before symptoms have developed. When symptoms do occur, one of the most common symptoms is abnormal vaginal bleeding. This can include bleeding between menstrual periods, bleeding after sexual intercourse or a pelvic exam, or bleeding after douching. Unusually heavy menstrual bleeding and bleeding after menopause are also possible symptoms of cervical cancer.