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Buddy Check 7: Preventing and detecting cervical cancer

Women face some unique health concerns specific to their gender. However, preventative care can help lower some health risks.
Published: May. 7, 2022 at 7:12 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Women face some unique health concerns specific to their gender. However, preventative care can help lower some health risks. According to Marshfield Clinic Health System, most cervical cancers, caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), can be prevented or treated, especially with early diagnosis.

“That’s one benefit of cervical cancer screening, is that we are catching these diseases so early that oftentimes we can treat them with a simple office procedure,” said Dr. Melissa Goetter OBGYN at Marshfield Clinic.

Cervical cancer is most frequently diagnosed in women between the ages of 35 and 44 with the average age at diagnosis being 50.

The American Cancer Society estimates about 14,100 new cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2022. About 4,280 women will die from cervical cancer.

Most early detections are made as a consequence of a screening Pap test. A Pap test, which screens for cervical cancer, is often performed during a pelvic exam. Pap smears are recommended for all women ages 21-65. Women 21-29 years old should get the test every three years if previous tests were normal.

“When we do a pap smear though, a lot of ladies think, ‘oh I had a pelvic exam so they don’t need a pap smear,’ and that’s not always the case. We sometimes do pap smears and sometimes we are just doing a pelvic exam if it’s not their time to get a pap smear,” explained Dr. Goetter.

The HPV test looks for infection by high-risk types of HPV that are more likely to cause pre-cancers and cancers of the cervix.

When it comes to prevention, vaccines protect against several strains of HPV. To be most effective, they should be administered before adolescents are sexually active.

According to Marshfield Clinic, the HPV vaccine is most effective if you get it at a younger age. Both girls and boys should get HPV vaccine, starting at the age 11–12 years.

It’s crucial for everyone to ensure their health remains a top priority. It’s the reason why Marshfield Clinic Health System and NewsChannel 7 bring you Buddy Check 7, a women’s health awareness program. Our goal is to educate and encourage women to take control of their health by staying aware, scheduling regular screenings, and reminding their “buddies” to do the same. The earlier any issue is diagnosed, the more likely treatment will be successful. We invite you to join us. Watch for our special Buddy Check 7 reports on the 7th of every month. Buddy Check 7 is sponsored by Marshfield Clinic Health System. Read more stories here.

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