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Taking Charge in the Fight Against Cervical Cancer

January 22, 2021

An estimated 13,000 women in the United States were diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2020 – a number higher than should be, as cervical cancer is one of the few cancers that can actually be prevented, according to the American Cancer Society.

“Cervical cancer is unique in that we have the ability to catch it early and treat it early, unlike other cancers,” said gynecologic oncologist Priyanka N. Kamath, M.D., M.S., Texas Oncology–Austin Central and South Austin. Below are three ways Dr. Kamath said women can take charge and prioritize their cervical health in the new year.

Cervical cancer is unique in that we have the ability to catch it early and treat it early, unlike other cancers.”

Don’t Skip Screenings

Screening is key for prevention and early detection. Annual checkups with a gynecologist and regular cervical pap tests are crucial. “Pap tests help catch cancer early, often detecting precancerous cells which can be treated before developing into a cancerous lesion,” said Dr. Kamath.

Consider Getting Vaccinated

The majority of cervical cancer cases stem from the same virus: human papilloma virus (HPV). “More than 90 percent of cervical cancers are caused by HPV, but it does not cause cervical cancer in every single patient who has the virus. HPV vaccinations are available to help prevent infection from HPV types that are known to have a high risk of causing cervical cancer,” said Dr. Kamath, noting that vaccinations can be given as early as nine years of age and up to 45 years of age.

Make Lifestyle Changes

Changes that lead to a healthier lifestyle can make a difference when it comes to cervical cancer prevention. “Building a strong immune system by making modifications such as a healthy diet, exercise, safe sex, and avoidance of tobacco use will help with cervical cancer prevention and are crucial for other aspects of your health,” said Dr. Kamath.

“Although many novel treatments have become available and continue to be studied, early detection and prevention are of utmost importance,” said Dr. Kamath. “See your gynecologist for routine exams and screening, consider vaccination for you and your loved ones, and make appropriate lifestyle changes.”

For upcoming webinars visit www.TexasOncologyFoundation.org.