January is Cervical Health Awareness Month
According to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition (NCCC), nearly 13,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer annually. However, cervical cancer is highly treatable and preventable through regular medical screenings and vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV).
What is HPV?
HPV is a virus. Multiple strains of HPV exist, with high-risk types that are closely associated with most cervical cancers and low-risk types that cause genital warts. Vaccination against HPV can prevent most cases of cervical cancer if administered before one is exposed to the virus.
Who Should Receive an HPV Vaccination?
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that boys and girls be vaccinated for HPV at ages 11-12. While the vaccine is available for anyone through age 45, anyone age 15 or older must receive three doses as opposed to the two-dose series that is available for those younger than 15 years of age.
Should I Get Screened?
While advanced cervical cancer may cause bleeding or discharge from the vagina that is not normal for you, such as bleeding after sex, it is vital to note that early-stage cervical cancer may not cause symptoms. As such, regular screening is crucial for prevention of cervical cancer.
According to the NCCC, a Pap test can identify HPV-linked changes to the cervical cells while HPV tests locate the virus itself. The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that anyone age 25-65 receive a primary HPV test once every 5 years; if a primary HPV test is unavailable, a Pap test performed every 3 years is sufficient.
Our Primary Care providers can answer your medical questions and guide you to the right specialist.
Our Radiation Oncology Specialists use the latest technology to treat cervical cancers including the High Dose Rate Brachytherapy System (HDR). This technology uses a computer-controlled radioactive source for rapid delivery of pinpoint doses of radiation, limiting radiation exposure to normal tissues. We use this to treat many gynecologic cancers including cervical and endometrial cancers. For the appropriate patient this can shorten treatment times from the traditional six or seven weeks to just five days.
North Florida Perinatal Associates are here to make your healthcare journey simple. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.