Women have unique anatomy and physiology that makes them susceptible to specific cancers, including those that affect the breast, the cervix, the uterus, and the ovaries. At Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists, we specialize in the prevention and early diagnosis of cancers specific to women. When cancer is caught in its early stages, it is one hundred percent curable.
Advanced Ultrasound Technology Complements Annual Exams
A complete physical exam is the first and most important step in cancer prevention. Advanced ultrasound imaging serves as an additional tool in detecting or ruling out cancer when you have physical symptoms, including pain or bleeding. Cherokee Women’s offers advanced ultrasound services in both trans-vaginal and three-dimensional ultrasound imaging, and we’re on the select list of practices fully accredited by the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine for Obstetric and Gynecologic ultrasound.
We recommend all patients have an exam performed every year for early cancer detection and prevention.
Breakthroughs in Medicine Provide Prevention for Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer is completely different from other cancers, as it’s preventable. First, the cervix can be seen directly by your OB-GYN or primary care physician without invasive testing using a Pap smear. Pap smears are very effective at evaluating abnormal cells that may develop into cancer. This is why it’s so important to schedule a regular exam with your OB-GYN. (Over 60% of patients with cervical cancer have never had a Pap smear.) Known risk factors for cervical cancer include persistent infection by HPV. In fact, HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States.
In the past several years, a breakthrough in medicine has provided a way to fight back and prevent cervical cancer. High-risk HPV strains including 16 and 18 have been associated with the majority of cervical cancers. Other HPV strains including 6 and 11 are associated with genital warts or growths on the vulva, cervix or penis. The Guardisil vaccine provides patients a way to actively protect themselves from these four strains of viruses. Additionally, the Cervarix vaccine will protect against the two strains that cause cervical cancer. It is recommended for male and female individuals between the ages of 9 and 26. These vaccinations protect young men and women before there are exposed during sexual activity. Most insurance companies, including Medicaid, will pay for the vaccine. (If you don’t have medical insurance, there are still ways to pay for the vaccine. Talk to your healthcare provider about your options.)
The HPV vaccine offers promise and protection from a known direct cause of cervical cancer. With it, we can fight and prevent a cancer that has taken the lives of too many women. Please don’t hesitate to contact your OB-GYN, pediatrician, primary care physician, or local health department with questions or concerns about these vaccines. There are also plenty of online resources available for parents and caregivers. We have included some helpful resources below:
Don’t delay your annual exam – call us today at 770.720.7733 to make your appointment.
Established Patients have the added convenience of requesting an appointment online.