Cervical Cancer Awareness for Northern Colorado Patients
Protect Yourself Against Cervical Cancer
No one wants to think about a possible cancer diagnosis. While it can be uncomfortable, it’s crucial to start a conversation about the risks and treatment options for cervical cancer. This condition affects thousands of people in the United States and even more across the world. At The Women’s Clinic of Northern Colorado, we’re committed to spreading awareness about cervical cancer treatment and screenings. We encourage our Loveland and Fort Collins, CO patients to schedule regular check-ups to look for warning signs of the condition. But beyond looking after your own health, we hope you’ll join our efforts to spread awareness about cervical cancer.
What Is Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer is a condition affecting the cells in the cervix (the organ below the uterus that connects it to the vagina). This cancer occurs when healthy cells in the cervix begin to mutate and multiply out of control. These abnormal cells accumulate and create a tumor. While it isn’t clear what sparks cervical cancer, the condition has been associated with HPV. Patients often don’t notice the symptoms of cervical cancer until they’re already in the advanced stages. Warning signs include:
- Watery or bloody vaginal discharge
- Pelvic pain
- Painful intercourse or vaginal bleeding after intercourse
- Vaginal bleeding between periods or after menopause
How Can I Minimize My Risk?
Fortunately, you have several screening options to help minimize your risk of cervical cancer. These tests aim to catch the signs of cervical early and start treatment before your symptoms become severe. At The Women’s Clinic of Northern Colorado, we recommend the following measures:
- Pap Smear: This test looks for precancerous symptoms such as abnormal cells on the cervix. For most patients, we suggest getting their first Pap smear at age 21.
- HPV Test: During an HPV test, we look for signs of human papillomavirus that may result in cell changes. These cell changes can cause cervical cancer later on. If you’re 30 or older, HPV testing is recommended at the same time as your pap smear. If you are under the age of 30, your provider may recommend testing for HPV in combination with a pap smear.
- Vaccination: Getting the HPV vaccine is a great way to minimize your chances of cancer-causing HPV. Vaccination is recommended for patients under age 26. If you’re 27 or older, talk to your doctor about your risk of HPV and the benefits of the vaccine.
Get Involved and Spread Awareness
January is cervical cancer awareness month, but that doesn’t mean that the other 11 months of the year aren’t a great time to speak up about cervical cancer symptoms. Every year, more than 14,000 U.S. women receive this cancer diagnosis. While there may only be a few ways to minimize your risk of cancer, there are numerous steps you can take to spread awareness. Whether it’s January, June, or September, you can get people talking in the following ways:
- Post on Social Media: Social media is a great way to get the word out about cervical cancer. Share the importance of screenings or talk about your experience with the condition.
- Fundraising: Lookup local fundraising initiatives for cervical cancer research. If you can’t find any you like, consider setting up your own fundraiser!
- Take Awareness to Work: Ask your boss about the possibility of hanging up posters and flyers around the workplace that promote cervical cancer screenings. If you get the green light, see if you can get co-workers involved too.
- Start a Conversation With Friends and Family: Sometimes, what convinces us to see a doctor is an encouraging word from a friend or family member. Make an effort to educate your loved ones about the prevalence of cervical cancer and the importance of routine screenings.
Schedule a Screening Today
No matter your age or current health, we highly encourage you to schedule a cervical cancer screening at The Women’s Clinic of Northern Colorado. We’ll walk you through each test and explain what an abnormal Pap smear could mean for you. Our compassionate team understands that a possible cancer diagnosis is nothing short of daunting, but we’ll be with you every step of the way. Contact us today to put a cervical cancer screening on your calendar.