Cervical cancer was once one of the most leading causes of death in women but advances in screenings and the development of an HPV vaccine have led to a drop in deaths and cases over the last decade. In fact, The World Health Organization recently announced a commitment to reduce 40 percent of cervical cancer cases and 5 million deaths by 2050.
Despite these promising advances every year about 14 million Americans become infected with HPV; about 12,000 women are diagnosed with and about 4,000 women die from cervical cancer caused by certain HPV viruses, according to the CDC.
At Adriatica Women’s Health we are committed to eliminating cervical cancer and here to answer any questions you may have. In this blog we will answer the most common questions patients have about preventing cervical cancer.
The majority of cervical cancer cases are linked to human papilloma virus (HPV). There are different strains of HPV that can cause warts, cancer and some strains stay dormant in the body. HPV types 16 and 18 are the two types that cause 80 percent of cervical cancers and HPV types 6 and 11 cause 90 percent of genital warts. Other types can lead to cancer of the anus, vulva, penis and throat.
The risk factors for being diagnosed with HPV include multiple sexual partners, taking birth control pills and being a woman between the age of 35 and 44.
In order to prevent cervical cancer we recommend the HPV vaccine as well as routine screenings.
The Gardasil 9 vaccine has been approved for safety by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to prevent HPV. The vaccine is recommended for preteens so that they are protected before they become sexually active. The vaccine has also been expanded for use for women and men through age 45. Luckily the majority of health insurance providers cover the HPV vaccine.
The vaccine is safe and effective but like any medicine, it can have side effects. Those side effects include soreness and in rare cases an allergic reaction but most people report no symptoms.
Whether a patient has received a vaccine or not we recommend that every female who is sexually active schedule a regular pap smear to monitor any cellular changes that may lead to cervical cancer. Age and medical history will determine how often you should have a pap smear so it’s important to speak to your provider if you aren’t sure when you make your next appointment.
If you have questions or concerns about HPV or cervical cancer, contact the skilled gynecologists at Adriatica Women’s Health. We are a team of highly capable OB/GYNs dedicated to using the most advanced techniques to treat women’s health issues. Call 972-542-8884 for an appointment.