Cervical cancer is nearly preventable with screening, education

| January 14, 2011 | 0 Comments

Tripler Army Medical Center
News Release

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HONOLULU — Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers in society.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends women start Pap smear screening at age 21, continue every two years from ages 21-29, then every three years at ages 30 and above, if all prior exams were normal.

Evaluations for other gynecologic conditions and screening for sexually transmitted diseases may occur during these visits.

Abnormal Pap smear results do not usually mean that a cancer is present, but may represent a precancerous condition. Women with abnormal test results should have follow-up exams with a gynecologist or other specially trained provider.

Follow-up exams usually include a colposcopy examination. The health care provider will apply a vinegar solution to the cervix, then take small samples to be tested. Sometimes a minor procedure is required to remove the abnormal precancerous tissue.

The human papilloma virus, or HPV, is a common sexually transmitted virus responsible for the majority of abnormal Pap smears and cervical cancers.

Education regarding safe sex practices and the HPV vaccination series, consisting of three injections, help prevent HPV effects on the cervix, vagina or external genitalia. Vaccinations should be given to young women between 9 and 26 years of age. Vaccinations can also be administered to women 26 years of age and older, and to male patients, at the discretion of their providers.

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month. Celebrate a success in the fight against cancer in women and schedule an appointment for a Pap smear if you are due.

Treatment and Evaluation

To learn more about the treatment and evaluation for cervical abnormalities, contact a primary care manager who may refer you to the Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinic at Schofield Barracks or Tripler Army Medical Center.

(Editor’s Note: References for this article include the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Practice Bulletin Number 109, December 2009; the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee Opinion Number 467, September 2010; and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee Opinion Number 463, August 2010.)


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Category: Community, Health

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