Cervical Cancer Awareness

From The Message Boards

Am I Pregnant

Could I be pregnant? ??

I'm not sure what's happening to my body right now. Back on July 2 through the 4th I went on the bc ...

**NEW** Due Date Club of March 2018

7 weeks 4 days and Saw the Heartbeat today!!!

I am so excited!!! A week ago yesterday I had an ultrasound done (should have been 6 weeks 2 days by...

**NEW** Due Date Club of March 2018

Howdy all!

Just found out I am pregnant again for the 5th time. Total shocker! We have been using condoms. My E...

**NEW** Due Date Club of March 2018

Introduction!

Hi ladies, my name is Bailey. I am a 31 year old Real Estate investor from south jersey. I am hoping...

Birth Control

Pregnant on IUD and given false assurances

Hi I've had a Paraguay for just under a year now and have found out that I am pregnant. I was given ...

By Margaret Lewin

Last year, 11,270 new cases of cervical cancer were diagnosed and another 1.2 million women will develop dysplasia, a condition which left untreated will turn into cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is a malignancy that develops in tissues of the cervix: the organ which connects the uterus to the vagina. It is preventable, slow-growing (so that it can be detected and cured early in its course), and is nearly always caused by infection from the human papilloma virus (HPV).

Cause: Most cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV – a highly contagious virus which can be transmitted easily by skin to skin and sexual contact.
  • At least half of all sexually active Americans contract HPV during their lifetimes
  • About 20 million Americans between the ages of 15 and 50 carry the virus.
  • There are more than 100 types of HPV – of which more than a dozen (termed “high risk types”) can cause cervical cancer.
  • Most often, a person’s immune system kills off the virus without intervention
  • Exposure to high risk types of HPV is more likely to lead to cancerous changes of the cervix in women who smoke or whose immune system is impaired.
Prevention: Cervical cancer can be prevented by
  • Having no intimate contact with either men or other women
  • Obtaining the HPV vaccine – which can immunize against two high risk types of HPV (types 16 and 18), which cause about 70% of cervical cancers. It is given as a series of three injections over a period of six months. The vaccine is now FDA-approved for females and males between the ages of 9 and 26, although many physicians recommend the vaccine up to age 50 for sexually active women and men who have sex with men.
  • Screening and treatment for early evidence of pre-malignant changes to the cervix.
Screening: The “pap smear” (Papanicolaou test) is used to screen for cervical cancer as part of the gynecological examination. It can reveal early, pre-malignant changes to the cervix. It is done by gently scraping the cervix with a wooden or plastic spatula and then by inserting a very small brush into the opening of the cervix. The cells thus obtained are then evaluated by a commercial laboratory. For maximum accuracy, your provider should be submitting a liquid-based preparation (not the old-fashioned smear submitted on glass slides). The same cells can be evaluated for the presence of HPV.
Lately, when and how often to screen has become controversial. Consensus among the various guideline commissions is still pending, but it is likely that recommendations will be as follows:
  • The first Pap test should be done at Age 21, then repeated every two years.
  • At Age 30, the Pap test and HPV screen (done using the same cells collected for the Pap) should be done; if both are negative and you’ve had at least three consecutive normal Pap smears, screening can be reduced to every three years.
If the Pap is normal but high risk HPV is present, Paps should be repeated at least yearly.
If the Pap is abnormal, further testing is necessary – starting with ‘colposcopy’. This procedure starts like a regular gynecologic examination, with the speculum inserted into the vagina. The doctor then brushes a material on the cervix to highlight any abnormal areas. The ‘colposcope’ – a large microscope positioned about a foot away – shines light into the vagina so the abnormal areas can be seen through the microscope. These areas are then biopsied and evaluated by a special laboratory.
Note: You should continue to see your doctor at least yearly for general gynecologic check-ups, even though the Pap test might be done less frequently.
Of all cancers, cervical cancer is almost unique in that it is preventable. Ask your healthcare provider whether you should consider the HPV vaccine. Cervical cancer can be detected early, treated, and cured. Ask your provider how frequently you should be screened.

Today on JustMommies

Best Bottles for Nursing Babies

If you’re in the market for baby bottles, you have particular needs if you’re a breastfeeding mom. You want to look for a bottle that mimics the motion, flow and feeling of breastfeeding to avoid...

Best Last Names for First Names

Giving a child a family name has long been a popular tradition. Often boys are named after their fathers or girls after a grandmother or aunt. However, new parents create different trends. Many moms...

Gender Identity: Raising a Transgender Youth

Your child is different. Perhaps he wants to don a dress, or you find him in your shoes and sporting your makeup. Or, maybe it’s the opposite. Maybe your daughter hates everything feminine and acts...

When Parents Aren't on the Same Page

Think back to the time before you became a parent: Maybe you talked with your partner about having children. Yet, your “parenting styles” may not have entered the conversation. Some clinical...