Cervical cancer is the third leading cancer diagnosis in women ages 20-39 and fifth in women ages 40-49. However, the disease is preventable with vaccination and appropriate screening. January is Cervical Health Awareness Month, which focuses on cervical cancer, how it’s linked with HPV, and the importance of early detection. With declining cervical cancer screening rates due to COVID-19, there’s never been a more important time to prioritize your cervical health.
All Women are at Risk for Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer develops in the cervix, which connects the lower part of the uterus to the vagina. The cervix contains a thin layer of tissue made up of cells. Healthy cells grow, divide, and are replaced as needed. Cancer of the cervix occurs when cells change over time, eventually becoming abnormal. Cancer cells divide more rapidly and eventually form a mass of tissue called a tumor.
Most cases of cervical cancer are caused by long-term infections from specific types of human papillomavirus (HPV). Some types of HPV are called “high-risk types” because they can cause cancer of the anus, cervix, vulva, vagina, and penis. Other HPV types have been linked to genital warts.
Cervical Cancer is Preventable
Safe, effective vaccines exist that protect against the most common types of HPV that cause genital warts and cancer. Cervical cancer screenings and an HPV test can detect signs of disease at an early stage, allowing for effective treatment and management of the condition:
- Cervical cancer screening includes the Pap test, an HPV test, or both. The Pap test checks for abnormal cell changes of the cervix.
- The HPV test can detect many high-risk types of HPV even before there are visible changes to cervical cells.
If you’ve been putting off your cervical cancer screening, don’t wait. Get back on the books with your OB/GYN today. You can also talk with your doctor about your risk of HPV and the vaccine options available. Even if you’re on top of your cervical health, this month is an excellent opportunity to spread awareness and encourage other women in your family and community to take action against cervical cancer.
Join Us in Our Mission to Advance Women’s Healthcare Options!
The treatment and prevention options available today against cervical cancer are some of the many research breakthroughs changing the future of women’s health. The patient partnerships with the women who participate in clinical trials play an integral part in advancing care options for conditions more prevalent in women.
Women’s Health Care Research conducts research studies that specialize in women’s health issues. We have studies enrolling for women who’ve received an abnormal pap test and those who are HPV positive. Other options include studies for birth control, hot flashes, and more! To learn more, call us at (858) 505-8672, or visit our website today!