Federal health officials and local gynecologists observe January as Cervical Health Awareness Month to boost HPV and cervical cancer awareness among men and women. Below is a guide to HPV, its correlation to cancer, and why it’s imperative to maintain optimal cervical health.
What Gynecologists Want You to Know About Cervical Health
What are Cervical Cancer & HPV?
HPV is a common infection that spreads through sexual activity and is the cause of most cervical cancer cases. About 14 million people—men, women, and teenagers—are infected with the virus annually. Once the infection inhibits the body, it causes more than 33,000 cancers, including cervical cancer. The latter starts when cells lining the cervix—the lower part of the uterus—grow out of control. The American Cancer Society estimated that 4,170 women would die of cervical cancer in the United States in 2018.
What are the Risk Factors for Cervical Cancer?
Women with certain cervical cancer risk factors, such as HIV infection or a history of smoking, may need Pap smears more frequently. Other risk factors include a diagnosis of cervical cancer, a Pap smear with evidence of precancerous cells, exposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES) before birth, and an immune system weakened due to chemotherapy, corticosteroids, or an organ transplant.
Why are Pap Smears Important?
Screenings for cervical cancer include Pap smears, which help gynecologists detect changes in cells before they become cancerous. With regular screenings, Pap smears, and follow-up care, most cervical cancer deaths can be prevented. Generally, physicians recommend women start Pap smears at age 21 and repeat the testing every three years to age 65.
Now is a great time to make an appointment with an experienced gynecologist for a cervical health checkup. The gynecologists at Greece Obstetrics and Gynecology in Rochester, NY, have been in practice for more than 30 years. These skilled medical professionals provide residents of Monroe County and the surrounding areas with a full range of care for females ages 12 and up, including Pap smears, contraception, STD testing, and advanced robotic surgeries. Patients receive treatment from compassionate doctors in a family atmosphere, and now evening hours are available. Learn more about their services online and call (585) 225-6680 to schedule a consultation today.