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January is Cervical Health Awareness Month

A month to raise awareness about how women can protect themselves from HPV & cervical cancer.

If detected early, cervical cancer is one of the most successfully treatable cancers. More than 12,000 women in the US are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year.  By having regular screening tests, cervical cancer can often be found early, and sometimes even prevented.

Tissue made up of cells creates a thin layer covering a woman’s cervix.  Healthy cells grow, divide, and are replaced as needed.  Cancer of the cervix occurs when abnormal cells form.  Cancerous cells divide more rapidly.  They may grow deeper cell layers on the cervix or spread to other organs.  Cancer cells left unabated eventually form a mass of tissue called a tumor.

HPV is the #1 cause of cervical cancers in women.  Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the US.  According to the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, nearly 80 million individuals in the US, most in their teens and 20s, are infected with HPV.  It can be present for years without causing any symptoms and can be passed to others without knowing.  There is a way to prevent HPV and reduce your risk for cervical cancer.

HPV vaccine - cervical cancer month

Because most cervical cancer is caused by HPV, the easiest way to prevent cervical cancer is to prevent HPV infection.  In 2006 a highly effective HPV vaccination was introduced and has been used to prevent infection.  Available to both males and females, HPV vaccination, helps your immune system create an antibody response that protects your body against the infection.

Routine Pap testing is the best way to detect abnormal changes to the cervix before they develop into cancer.  Similar to removing polyps to prevent colon cancer, treating abnormal cells can help prevent cervical cancer from forming.  The Pap test can also identify cervical cancer early when it is in the most curable stage.  Although the number of cases of cervical cancer has been declining over past the decade thanks to Pap screening, cervical cancer remains the second most common type of cancer for women worldwide.

If you have cervical health concerns or are interested in additional HPV vaccination information, contact River Bend Medical Associates for an appointment with one of our sensitive and knowledgeable medical providers.  At our Sacramento area medical practice, we strive to create an environment where our patients feel welcomed and assured that they, and their families, will receive compassionate healthcare.  Our progressive, sensitive, and culturally diverse team is committed to delivering quality health care and promoting the well-being of our patients.  As part of your medical team, we are here to provide you with the best care in all aspects of your health care needs.  For more information on our medical practice, or to make an appointment contact River Bend Medical Associates, or call 916-392-4000.


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