Cervical Cancer Awareness Month: Early Detection is Essential
January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. The Harbin Clinic Women’s Health Centers in Cartersville and Rome are here to help you understand the importance of women’s yearly exams and health issues related to cervical cancer and human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, and early detection and prevention.
At one time, cervical cancer was one of the most common causes of cancer deaths for American women. Now, cervical cancer is largely preventable with increased Pap testing, HPV testing, and the HPV vaccine.
Harbin Clinic Women’s Centers are staffed by OB-GYN physicians and highly trained nursing and support staff dedicated to healthcare excellence for women. These healthcare professionals encourage women to schedule a comprehensive exam yearly. At a woman’s annual visit, she can expect her provider to perform preventative screenings for breast cancer and gynecological cancers, such as ovarian, uterine, and cervical cancer. These exams are essential to help women maintain their overall health and detect potential precancerous cell growth.
“Regular visits with your OB-GYN play a huge role in cancer prevention,” explains OB-GYN Dr. Ben Warren. “Best case scenario is when we can detect the disease in its early stages before it becomes precancerous or cancerous.”
In addition to a yearly exam, women between the ages of 21 and 65 should expect to have a Pap smear every three years and HPV testing every five years for those ages 25 to 65.
The HPV vaccine protects children and young adults against certain HPV infections, typically those most commonly linked to cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends that boys and girls between the ages of 9 and 12 receive the HPV vaccine as a part of their routine vaccinations. Older children and young adults can receive the vaccine up to age 26.
“It’s a common misconception that HPV infection causes just cervical cancer in women,” says Erin Hernandez, President/CEO of the NWGA Regional Cancer Coalition. “But in fact, HPV infection causes six types of cancer that affect both males and females. The HPV vaccine can prevent up to 90% of HPV-related cancer; it’s crucial that children and young adults have access to this vaccine.”
“Some of our main goals at the Harbin Clinic Women’s Centers are to establish a relationship with our patients, understand their health history, and walk alongside them as they plan for their future,” says OB-GYN Dr. Diana Vallecilla. “All those things are equally essential parts of an annual visit.”
Harbin Clinic’s OB-GYN providers offer comprehensive services in specialized obstetric and gynecologic care, ranging from adolescent gynecology, family planning, menopause and more. Schedule your annual well-woman exam today and take the necessary steps towards cervical cancer prevention with the help of Harbin Clinic’s dedicated Women’s Health staff.
Content updated January 2024.