As part of Cervical Health Awareness Month, Wright State Physicians Obstetrics & Gynecology is encouraging women to talk to their physicians about preventing cervical cancer.
Of the more than 12,000 women diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, 4,000 die, according to the American Sexual Health Association and the National Cervical Cancer Coalition. HPV (human papillomavirus), the most common sexually transmitted infection, is a major cause of cervical cancer. About 79 million Americans are infected with HPV, but many do not realize it.
Jerome Yaklic, M.D., medical director of Wright State Physicians Obstetrics & Gynecology, says the HPV vaccine can help prevent cervical cancer.
“Cervical cancer is essentially a preventable disease. It can be detected and treated in a precancerous stage with regular screening exams and Pap smears,” says Yaklic, who also is chair and associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine. “Women should start getting regular Pap testing at age 21, but they should ideally be vaccinated against HPV much sooner. The HPV vaccine can be given to both boys and girls starting at 9 years old. The vaccine is approved for use up to 26 years old, but getting the vaccine sooner is preferred.”