Did You Know that January is Cervical Health Awareness Month?
Cervical cancer has become increasingly preventable through vaccinations for the human papillomavirus (HPV) and screening tests for HPV and pap smears.
But we still have a long way to go in this fight!
Schools don’t yet require HPV vaccinations for boys and girls, and the virus is very common.
In fact, 45 percent of men ages 18 to 59, and 40 percent of women ages 18 to 59 are infected with HPV – some 79 million Americans.
How Common is Cervical Cancer?
The Foundation for Women’s Cancer reports that more than 13,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year.
HPV is known to cause 70% of the instances of cervical cancer but does not result in cancer in the majority of people infected, given the widespread presence of the virus vs. the number of annual documented cases.
That being said, don’t leave your cervical health to chance.
What Can I Do to Prevent Cervical Cancer?
Some of the best things one can do are these simple things:
● Get the HPV vaccination
○ Two vaccines, Cervarix and Gardasil, are available to protect against the types of HPV that cause the most cervical cancers.
● Get regular women’s health screenings like scheduling pap smears on a regular basis with your gynecologist. For most women, we recommend once every 3-5 years.
● Practice safe sex: Studies have shown that women who have many sexual partners increase their risk of developing HPV and their risk of cervical cancer.
● Quit smoking: Smoking cigarettes doubles your risk of developing cervical cancer.
How Do I Get Screened for HPV and Cervical Cancer?
When you schedule your pap smear, your gynecologist will take a sample of your cervical cells during your procedure. You don’t need a separate appointment to get tested for HPV.
Your doctor will be able to discuss your results with you and develop an action plan should the test return any abnormal results.
How Do I Get Help or Find a Doctor?
If you’ve been considering your options, you’ve likely already been conducting searches like “gynecologist near me” and reading the reviews of doctors. Finding a gynecologist with whom you’re comfortable may not always be easy, but at Advanced Gynecology, we put your comfort first. And our dual board-certified urogynecologists are some of the top doctors in the country when it comes to women’s health.
When you call us to request an appointment, one of our patient care coordinators will help you get scheduled and can answer any question you may have about your first visit with us.