January is recognized as Cervical Health Awareness Month. According to the American Cancer Society’s estimation, about 14,480 new cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2021. Here at City of Oaks Midwifery, we want to spread awareness around cervical health. The disease is preventable with proper vaccination and regular screenings, and our certified nurse-midwives are ready to provide comprehensive care to patients.
About Cervical Cancer
The CDC states that, “When cancer starts in the cervix, it is called cervical cancer. The cervix is the lower, narrow end of the uterus. The cervix connects the vagina to the upper part of the uterus.” According to the American Cancer Society, “cervical cancer is most frequently diagnosed in women between the ages of 35 and 44 with the average age at diagnosis being 50.”
Screenings and Testing
The cervical cancer death rate has decreased largely thanks to women receiving an annual Pap smear, also known as a Pap test. This test that women receive when they visit their provider can detect changes in the cervix before the cancer even has a chance to fully develop. Or if cervical cancer has already developed, it can be detected early when it is easier to treat and cure.
The human papillomavirus or HPV test is another test that has been approved in more recent years to help screen for cervical cancer. Because most cervical cancers are caused by HPV, this test scans for higher-risk forms of HPV that could be cancer-causing or precancerous.
We encourage our patients to have regular screenings, and we will always follow up if test results are not normal. Together, we can decide what the best next steps to take will be. The best form of prevention is to get the HPV vaccine.
According to the CDC, the HPV vaccine, “protects against the types of HPV that most often cause cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers. It is recommended for preteens (both boys and girls) aged 11 to 12 years, but can be given as early as age 9 and until age 26. The vaccine is given in a series of either two or three shots, depending on age. It is important to note that even women who are vaccinated against HPV need to have regular Pap tests to screen for cervical cancer.”
Contact a Certified Nurse-Midwife
The Certified Nurse-Midwives of the City of Oaks Midwifery provide comprehensive and holistic care to their patients in the Raleigh, NC area. That includes providing Pap smear screening examinations through annual women’s wellness exams. Call (919) 351-8253 to schedule an appointment or schedule an appointment directly online by clicking here.