Pinellas Park, FL, January 11, 2013 --(PR.com
)-- In honor of National Cervical Health Awareness Month observed in January, local oncologists are making efforts to encourage women to take charge of their health and get regular screenings for cervical cancer. The disease is one of the most common reproductive cancers in females, but women can take steps to greatly reduce their risk of developing it.
“With proper screening for cervical cancer, many cases could be prevented or caught earlier,” says Robert Miller, M.D., Board Certified Radiation Oncologist with WellSpring Oncology in Pinellas Park. “Visiting a gynecologist can greatly reduce a woman’s risk.”
Cervical cancer was once the leading cause of cancer death among women in the United States; however, cases have dropped significantly over the past 50 years. This decrease is largely due to better medical screening for women, including the Pap test. Still, this year, approximately 12,100 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer. Nearly one-third of these women will not survive. In Florida alone, almost 300 women die each year from cervical cancer.
“Cervical cancer doesn’t discriminate,” says Dr. Miller. “All women of all ages are at risk for developing the disease. However, there are certain factors that can increase a woman’s risk.”
The most common cause of cervical cancer is the human papilloma virus, or HPV. This virus is passed through skin-to-skin and/or sexual contact with an area of the body infected with HPV. However, for most women, HPV will go away on its own without ever causing cervical cancer.
While HPV is the primary cause of cervical cancer, it is not the only factor that can increase a woman’s risk. Other known risk factors for cervical cancer include:
-Extended use of birth control pills
-Giving birth to three or more children
-Multiple sexual partners or sexual activity at a young age
-HIV or other immune system disorders
-Irregular screening history
The best ways for women to reduce their risk of developing cervical cancer is through regular Pap tests and follow-ups with their doctor, should the test come back abnormal. Practicing safe sex by using a condom, not smoking and considering an HPV vaccine can help protect women from the virus.
The American Cancer Society recommends women between ages 21 and 29 have a Pap test every 3 years and those between the ages of 30 and 65 to have a Pap test plus an HPV test (called “co-testing”) every 5 years.
A Silent Cancer:
“Early stages of cervical cancer very rarely involve any pain or symptoms,” says Dr. Miller. “Even the symptoms a woman may experience from more advanced stages are often thought to be something less serious.”
Some of the first signs of more advanced cancer include irregular vaginal bleeding, heavier or longer-lasting menstrual periods, and abnormal vaginal discharge.
“If diagnosed, a physician will help determine the best treatment for the patient, whether radiation therapy, chemotherapy or surgery,” says Dr. Miller. “Early stage cervical cancer can be well-treated, with a long survival rate and good quality of life. This is why regular screening to catch it in the earlier stages is so important.”
For more information, or to schedule an interview with Dr. Robert Miller, please contact Melissa Rogovin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About WellSpring Oncology: Doctors Robert Miller, Zucel Solc and Frank Franzese opened the doors of WellSpring Oncology in the spring of 2008 to provide high-end treatment in a more personal and caring environment. The doctors at WellSpring Oncology have been practicing innovative radiation therapy since the 1970’s and developed the center to ensure patients have access to the latest technology available in the treatment of cancer. WellSpring Oncology’s physicians are all Board Certified in radiation oncology and received their training at the top centers in the country, including MD Anderson, Memorial Sloan Kettering and the University of California, San Francisco. WellSpring Oncology is located at 6600 Sixty Sixth Street North in Pinellas Park, Florida.
For more information or to make an appointment, contact WellSpring Oncology at (727) 343-0600 or visit them online at www.WellSpringOncology.org.