POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — Pleasant Valley Hospital Women’s Services is part of a public awareness campaign held in January of each year, Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. This initiative creates awareness about cervical cancer and the importance of getting a Pap smear screening and HPV vaccination.
“Unlike some other cancers, cervical cancer is preventable when detected early through a Pap smear screening,” Surgical Gynecologist Sam Badran, MD, FACOG, stated via a news release. “Cervical cancer affects the lower part of the uterus or the cervix, usually as the result of infection by the Human Papilloma virus (HPV). For most patients, the progression from HPV infection to cervical dysplasia and then cervical cancer takes many years, making it possible for us to detect the disease while it is still pre-cancerous and prevent it from developing.”
Dr. Badran and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Kylie Scott, WHNP-BC recommend a regular Pap smear and HPV screenings, which are the keys to catching the disease while it is still pre-cancerous. A Pap smear is a simple outpatient test that our medical professionals provide in a private environment with a simple, efficient test.
The American Cancer Society recommends cervical cancer screenings should begin at age 21. Medical professionals also recommend that women between the ages of 21 and 29 should have a Pap smear every 3 years and HPV testing is unnecessary in this age group unless one has received an abnormal Pap smear result. Women between the ages of 30 and 65 should have a Pap smear plus an HPV test every 5 years. This is the preferred approach, but it is also OK to have a Pap smear alone every 3 years. Additionally, women over age 65 who have had regular cervical cancer testing with normal results should not continue testing for cervical cancer. Once testing is over, it should not start again. Those with a history of cervical pre-cancer should continue testing for at least 20 years after that diagnosis, even if testing continues past age 65.
There are vaccines that can help protect young women from some HPV infections. So far, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approve of two vaccines. These vaccines prevent cancer that can result from an HPV infection before an abnormal Pap smear develops. They will not treat or protect against cancer from an existing HPV infection. Medical professionals recommend routine HPV vaccinations for girls as young as age 9 through age 26. As of 2013, medical professionals also recommend HPV vaccine for boys. It is important to vaccinate prior to exposure to HPV.
“Please call my office to schedule your screening with Kylie Scott at Pleasant Valley Hospital Women’s Services at 304. 857.6503. We look forward to hearing from you,” Dr. Badran stated.
This piece submitted by Pleasant Valley Hospital.
Sam Badran, MD, FACOG, is a surgical gynecologist at Pleasant Valley Hospital.