January is Cervical Health Awareness Month

Over 10,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year. This disease is virtually preventable with screening tests and vaccination.

What You Need To Know About Cervical Cancer

Causes and Risk Factors 

Human papillomavirus (HPV) causes the majority of cases of cervical cancer. 

HPV is a sexually-transmitted virus. Hence, women with multiple sexual partners are at higher risk of getting infected with HPV and consequently, of developing cervical cancer. 

Other factors that can increase your risk for cervical cancer include smoking, long-term use of birth control pills, and having sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs) such as gonorrhea, syphilis, and Chlamydia. 

Signs and Symptoms 

In the early stages of HPV, you may not experience any signs or symptoms at all! This is why we highly encourage women to have regular cervical smear tests (also known as the Pap test).

Although it doesn’t diagnose cervical cancer, a Pap test can help determine significant cell changes in the cervical area that may indicate possible development of cancer. 

For people with symptoms, they may experience the following:

  • bleeding between periods
  • bleeding after sexual intercourse
  • pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse
  • vaginal discharge with a strong odor
  • pelvic pain

Prevention and Treatment

You can reduce your risk of cervical cancer by getting HPV vaccination, practicing safe sex, having fewer sexual partners, quitting smoking, and getting screened.

The earlier the cancer is detected, the better the treatment outcome will be.

When it comes to treating cervical cancer, you have several options, including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of these. 

Your treatment plan will depend on several factors including your existing health status, the stage of your cancer, and your preference. 

The physicians at Women’s Healthcare of Norman specialize in diagnosing and treating cervical cancer.

If you suspect that you have cervical cancer, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. To request an appointment, call our office at (405) 360-1264.