Every year, approximately 12,000 women are diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. Sadly, cervical cancer is the most preventable female cancer. January is National Cervical Health Awareness Month. It is an important time to get the word out about women’s health and important screenings.
Get screened, get screened, get screened — For many years years, the standard for women was to get a routine cervical screening. a pap test, once per year to help catch cervical cancer in its early stages. But the National Cancer Institute and the American College of Gynecologists have changed those recommendations. During your 20’s, a cervical screening should be done every three years. It is then recommended to get a screening every five years between the ages of 30 and 65.
Your individual screening recommendations may vary based on a number of different factors, such as age or prior health history. It is important to talk to to your doctor about how often you should be screened. Even though you may not need a cervical screening as often, it’s still important to schedule your yearly women’s exam to prevent and detect other issues.
Quit smoking — Women who smoke are more at risk than nonsmokers for getting cervical cancer. If you smoke, it’s highly recommended that you quit as it decreases your risks for many illnesses.
HPV vaccine — Another way to help lower your risk for cervical cancer is to ask your doctor if the HPV vaccine may be right for you. HPV (human papillomavirus) is a virus that may increase your risk for developing cervical cancer. Many cases of HPV are no cause for concern, but if you have HPV, your risk for cervical cancer goes up. The HPV vaccine helps protect you from HPV, thus decreasing your risk of cancer.
Schedule your annual examination today. The best prevention against any health-related issue is to schedule your annual women’s health visit. Garden State Gynecology has both male and female board certified obstetrician/gynecologist on staff. Call to schedule an appointment with any of our physicians at 973-525-1400.