SPOTLIGHT ON CERVICAL CANCER & HPV INFECTION
Post by on Tuesday, July 6, 2021
Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers in women. Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection increases a woman’s risk of developing cervical cancer. This is because the virus produces certain proteins that turn off tumor suppressor genes, which can allow the cells lining the cervix to grow too much and develop gene mutations; this, in turn, can lead to cancer.
What to do?
??Full pelvic exams and pap smears, beginning around age 21 or sooner.
??Screening for cervical cancer every 2 years (Pap smear) from age 21 to 30.
??Screening for cervical cancer, age 30 and over -- Pap smears and HPV testing every 3 to 5 years.
??Periodic HIV and STD testing.
??Mammography every 1-2 years beginning at 40 (for those with low risk); every year beginning at age 50.
??Perimenopausal and menopausal women should discuss any urogenital issues with their doctor -- these can include vaginal dryness, vulvovaginal atrophy (when the vulva and the tissue lining the vagina become thinner, drier, and less elastic/flexible), low libido, urine leakage, hot flashes, night sweats, sleeplessness, and others.
??A vaccination for HPV is available for girls and women ages 9 to 26. The vaccine protects against the strains of human papillomavirus that cause cervical and other cancers. Ask your doctor about the HPV vaccine.