Cervical cancer is a completely preventable illness if taken the proper precautions. It still impacts thousands of American women a year, but with annual screenings and HPV vaccinations, it can be avoided. AFC Urgent Care Waltham offers both screenings and vaccinations to all patients. Visit us today for any lab tests or vaccinations.
Benefits of Annual Screenings
Cervical cancer is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is spread through sex. Early detections of cervical cancer can be detected through an HPV test or a pap test, which looks for abnormalities on your cervix. Regular pap tests provide peace of mind and early detection of cancer. The earlier the cancer is detected, the less intense treatment you will need. Catching it early also prevents the cancer cells from spreading to other parts of your body and developing cancer elsewhere.
When to start getting regular tests
Regular pap tests should begin at age 21. For healthy, normal tests, doctors recommended getting them once every three years. Your doctor will recommend different variations of the test as you get older and as the results come back normal. Most women get regular pap tests every three years until they are 65 years old.
In addition to regular pap tests, getting an HPV vaccine can decrease your risk of contracting cervical cancer. It is recommended that you are vaccinated before age 15, but it is possible to get vaccinated after. Nearly 80% of the population become infected with HPV at some point in their life. Getting vaccinated early on can reduce your risk of complications, such as cervical cancer.
Avoid smoking and use protection during sex. These are two other ways that can reduce your risk of getting cervical cancer from HPV, but the vaccine is the best option.
How is cervical cancer treated?
If your test comes back showing signs of cancer, you may be referred to an oncologist. From there, specific treatments will be recommended based on how far the cancer has progressed. Surgery can be recommended to remove the cancer tissue. Chemotherapy can be used to shrink the size of the cancer, using oral medication or medication injected into your veins. Lastly, radiation can be used to kill the cancer. This process is similar to using a digital x-ray.
For more information about cervical cancer or the type of vaccinations we offer, call AFC Urgent Care Waltham. Our trained physicians can give you all of the information you may need.