January 23, 2018

Doctors push to lower cervical cancer rates in Texas

12 January 2018, 05:29 | Silvia Roy

January Is "Cervical Cancer Awareness Month"

Dr. Lucy Nieves gynecologic oncologist at NHRMC says girls and boys should get the HPV vaccine. While males can't get cervical cancer the HPV infection can cause other cancers in males including oral anal and penile cancer

Planned Parenthood of Southern New England is urging residents to schedule preventive screenings as a part of Cervical Health Awareness Month in January. This helps find the changes in the cervix before the cancer develops, this is when the disease is most curable.

Doctors said one of the biggest misconceptions is that HPV only causes cervical cancer in women.

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Ian Fennell continually stressed the importance of early detection. Often, older women do not realize that the risk of developing cervical cancer is still present as they age. In 2016, the incidence rate for cervical cancer was 9 new cases per 100,000 women in Texas.

Fenell, who is Health Service Programs Manager for the Good Samaritan Health Center, explains that cervical cancer is preventable with annual screenings including pap smears and HPV (Human Papillomavirus) screenings.

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According to the CDC, each year, approximately 13,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with cervical cancer and over 4,000 will die of the cancer.

Preventive screenings - like a Pap test - can detect irregularities that lead to cervical cancer. Other risk factors include smoking, having a weakened immune system, being overweight, and having a family history of cervical cancer. It can also be used as a screening test on its own, and, in one recent study, it was almost twice as effective as the Pap test in detecting early cervical cancer. Ask your health care provider for more details.

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