April 30, 2012
From sinus infections to cancer prevention we're tracking what's going around and what you need to know to stay healthy. In this week What's Going Around we're focusing on cervical cancer and screenings.
Dr.Andrea Tribastone (of forest lakes family medicine is providing our medical information. She says cervical cancer is a cancer of the lower portion of uterus.
Symptoms can include abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge, pain during sex, and abdominal mass, but in the early phases of the disease it often has no symptoms.
Tribastone says a majority of cases are caused by infection with certain strains of the Human Papilloma Virus or HPV.
Risk factors include smoking, high risk sexual behaviors, prolonged use of birth control pills, and an immune deficiency such as HIV.
When it comes to prevention, Dr. Tribastone recommends pap smear screenings, an HPV vaccine for women 9-26 years old and condoms to reduce the risk of getting HPV.
Tribastone says pap smear screenings should start at age 21 and how often you have have one all depends on your age.
The pap smear works by identifying possible pre-cancerous changes on the cervix and allowing for prevention or early treatment.