Prevention is Possible

Posted on: January 29, 2019
Tags: OB/GYN, Women's Health

Contributor(s): Tyler Adams


Each year January is a month set aside to recognize those who have fought and are currently fighting cervical cancer.  According to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition, cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer women are diagnosed with.  It is also the most preventable type of cancer.  Because of this, it is important to know what cervical cancer is and how to prevent it.

Cervical cancer is when abnormal cell growth occurs within the cervix, a narrow opening connecting the uterus to the vagina.  Approximately 13,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year resulting in about 4,000 deaths.  Of these 13,000 cases, the Human Papilloma Virus is found in approximately 99%.

There are hundreds of different types of HPV and the CDC reports that it is so common that most people get HPV at some point in their lifetime.  With that in mind, it is important to know that having HPV does not mean that you will get cervical cancer.  Although almost all cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV, HPV does not always cause cervical cancer.  There are other risk factors that attribute to cervical cancer such as smoking, using birth control for extended periods of time, having multiple sexual partners, and having given birth to three or more children.  Cervical cancer is most frequently diagnosed in women ages 35-44 and rarely affects women in their 20s.  Older women are also at risk with 15% of diagnoses happening in women over 65 years old.     

If it is one of the most preventable types of cancer, how can it be prevented?  To prevent cervical cancer, there are two screenings women can get to identify precancerous cells before they turn into invasive cancer.  These tests are: a Pap test and a HPV test.  These are routine tests that occur during a well-women exam.  If receiving these tests regularly, Irregular cell growth is almost always caught before cervical cancer forms.  If you haven’t be receiving routine well-women exams it is important to begin receiving these or you may be at risk of developing cervical cancer without knowing it.  Symptoms of cervical cancer include:

  • Abnormal bleeding such as after intercourse, after menopause, after a pelvic exam, or between regular periods
  • Pelvic pain not related to your menstrual cycle
  • Heavy or unusual discharge that may be watery, thick, and possibly have a foul odor
  • Increased urinary frequency
  • Pain during urination

Make sure you talk to your healthcare provider if you experience any of these symptoms.

Primary Health Solutions is proud to offer excellent OB/GYN care, assisting women with maintaining good reproductive and cervical health.  For more information on cervical cancer, click the links below: