Medical Monday- Cervical Health

Published: Jan. 11, 2023 at 3:00 PM EST
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -Cervical health is important, as undetected cervical cancer can be fatal. In addition to the tradition pap smear, there is now additional testing options, as well as a vaccine. Here’s Jonathon Eigenmann with this weeks Medical Monday.

Dr. Rachel Swartz, MD Northern Light AR Gould: Cervical cancer is a dangerous cancer, if it’s progressed to that stage. The survival rate with it is increased, if it’s detected again early without much spread or matastisis to surrounding tissue. But it’s a deadly cancer and it’s one of the leading causes of cancer deaths in the underdeveloped world.

Jonathon: Dr. Rachel Swartz from Northern Light AR Gould says there are tests to detect cervical cancer.

Dr. Rachel Swartz: So definitely by age 25 it’s recommended to have a pap smear. It used to be an annual test, but now with the advent of the HPV co testing where they can look at the risk for high risk strain viruses. it’s now been able to be spaced out to 3 years between ages 21 and 30 and then even up to 5 years 30 to 65.

Jonathon: Dr. Swartz adds while testing is important in detecting early signs of cancer, prevention through the HPV vaccine is just as important. And not just for girls.

Dr. Rachel Swartz: It prevents cervical cancer, penile cancer, anal cancer, so that’s also recommended for boys to get the HPV Vaccine as well. It’s recommended between ages 9 and 16, but you actually can get the vaccine up to age 45, it still may be effective.

Jonathon: The vaccine also protects against genital warts. Dr. Swartz says the younger generation is already seeing the positive results of the vaccine.

Dr. Swartz: We have been seeing already a significant decrease in abnormal pap smears for cervical cancer in the younger patient population because of the HPV Vaccine. There’s really no side effects or risks with it, other than arm pain, swelling. I know people have told me they’ve been worried about potential deaths from the HPV Vaccine, and that’s just not been proven to be the case.

Jonathon: For more information on the vaccine or testing, you can visit the CDC website or speak with your primary care provider. Jonathon Eigenmann, NewsSource 8.