Dr. Spiker shares her advice for preventing cervical cancer in 2020. 

How healthy is your cervix?

 

Cervical cancer strikes 13,000 American women yearly. But, there is good news! This deadly disease is preventable with screenings and vaccines. Read on for advice from Dr. Spiker of HealthStar Physicians Family Practice.

What are some causes and risk factors for cervical cancer?

The medical field has made great strides in understanding cervical cancer. Some people are surprised to learn that it’s not genetic. Cervical cancer is caused by the HPV virus. We can make a direct link because it’s detected in 99.7% of cervical cancers!

More HPV Facts:

  • HPV types 16 and 18 cause nearly 90% of anal cancer and a significant amount of oropharyngeal, vulvar, vaginal and penile cancer. 
  • HPV type 6 and 11 cause 90% of anogenital warts.

 

Since HPV is so strongly linked to cervical cancer, risk factors for HPV are also linked to risk factors for cervical cancer. These include: 

  • Early onset of sexual activity.
  • Multiple sexual partners.
  • High risk sexual partners.
  • History of a prior STD.
  • Immunosuppression.

 

What are common symptoms of cervical cancer?

  • Most cervical cancers are asymptomatic, which makes screening very important
  • Later stages can cause irregular, heavy vaginal bleeding and postcoital (after sexual activity) bleeding. 

 

When should women start getting tested for cervical cancer?

  • Screening starts at age 21 with a pap smear and ends at age 65, if the patient is negative for cervical cancer, HPV virus or an abnormal pap smear.

 

What is the best prevention for cervical cancer?

  • We recommend vaccination for HPV. The Gardasil 9 vaccine is used in the US and targets 9 strains of HPV. It causes an excellent response of seroconversion with rates of 93-100% in females and 99-100% in males. 
  • Vaccination is recommended starting at age 9, prior to HPV exposure, up to age 45.
  • Since we know HPV virus is spread sexually, getting the vaccination as early as you can, regardless of sexual activity, is the safest bet. 
  • Practice safe sexual practices, like decreasing the amount of partners and using protection.

 

How do providers at HealthStar Physicians Family Practice approach cervical cancer?

We follow the recommended screening guidelines put forth by the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology (ASSP). 

As osteopathic healthcare providers, we stress healthcare for the whole body. Prevention is very important. We strongly recommend the vaccination and pertinent screening, which should start at age 21 and end at age 65.

Don’t be a statistic! Make 2020 the year you take control of your cervical health. Make an appointment with Dr. Spiker at HealthStar Physicians Family Practice today. 

 

The HealthStar Physicians Family Practice Difference

With three female providers, including Dr. Spiker, we take special care to educate our patients in holistic care and women’s health. But, that’s not all we do. We offer a wide range of care, including everything from DOT physicals, vaccines and weight loss management. Click here to learn more.

 

We’re accepting new patients, and we accept most forms of health insurance. Contact us to find out more.