As part of Cervical Health Awareness Month (January), Montgomery County gynecologist Dr. Rania Ibrahim is urging her patients to take the time to discuss cervical cancer prevention and the importance of repeated screenings.
Approximately over 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, and one-third of them die, according to the American Sexual Health Association and the National Cervical Cancer Coalition.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most widespread sexually transmitted disease and is also a major source of cervical cancer. Over 80 million Americans are infected with HPV, but many don’t even realize they have it.
Your Montgomery County gynecologist tells her patients that the HPV vaccine can aid in the prevention of cervical cancer, which is fundamentally a preventable disease. It can be discovered and treated when it’s in its precancerous phase with regular screenings and Pap smears.
She urges her patients to begin getting regular Pap tests when they reach the age of 21, but ideally they should be vaccinated against HPV much sooner than that. The HPV vaccine can be administered to both boys and girls when they reach the age of nine.
The American Cancer Society reports that in the past cervical cancer was the leading cause of cancer death for women across the country. But because more women are getting regular screening for the disease, the number of deaths from the condition has decreased significantly over the past number of years.
In the past, health professionals such as your Montgomery County gynecologist referred to cervical cancer as the “silent killer.” Discovering cervical cancer in its early stages can be challenging, as early forms of the disease typically do not have any noticeable symptoms.
It’s not until the cancer becomes invasive that symptoms begin to appear, such as abnormal bleeding following sex, during menopause or between periods, heavy or prolonged periods, discharge or pain during sexual intercourse.
Given the absence of early symptoms of the disease, it is a concern that some women may not know they have it, and some may even dismiss the symptoms or confuse them with those of another disorder.
The fact that cervical cancer seldom presents any symptoms in its early stages brings to light the importance of regular screening for the disease. Call the office of Montgomery County gynecologist Dr. Rania Ibrahim today to schedule a confidential consultation.