How Loveland, CO Residents Can Prevent Cervical Cancer
Reducing the Risk of Cervical Cancer
The prospect of a cancer diagnosis is nerve-wracking. However, it’s important to schedule regular screenings and take conscious steps toward cancer prevention. At The Women’s Clinic of Northern Colorado, we work with Loveland and Fort Collins, CO patients to reduce their risk of developing cervical cancer. This condition affects more than ten thousand women in the United States each year, and we aim to help you avoid the disease. Education is one of the best ways to minimize your chances of a cervical cancer diagnosis. Learn more about the steps you can take.
Identify Risk Factors
If you’re worried about cervical cancer symptoms, it’s good practice to take an inventory of your risk factors. The signs of cervical cancer can appear in adult women without visible symptoms, so knowing whether you’re at high risk is crucial. While many risk factors for cervical cancer are out of your control, others can be mitigated with lifestyle changes. Consider whether any of these risk factors apply to you:
- An HPV Diagnosis: About 90% of cervical cancer cases have been linked to a prior human papillomavirus diagnosis. If you have high-risk HPV, make sure to talk to your doctor about ways to treat abnormal cell growth.
- Smoking: Studies have suggested that women who smoke are about two times more likely to develop cervical cancer than non-smokers. Smoking might also diminish the immune system’s response to cancer-causing HPV infections.
- Weakened Immune System: If you have a condition that causes a weakened immune system, you may be at higher risk for HPV and, thus, cervical cancer.
- Birth Control Pills: Some studies have shown a connection between the prolonged use of birth control pills and cervical cancer. The risk may decrease again once the patient stops taking the pills.
- Sexual History: Patients who have had many sexual partners or a partner with HPV may have an increased risk of developing HPV themselves.
- Multiple Pregnancies: If you’ve carried three or more pregnancies to term, you may be at a higher risk of cervical cancer. Pregnancy causes hormonal changes that could make women more susceptible to HPV.
The most important thing you can do to avoid cervical cancer is to get tested. Testing looks a little different depending on your age, but it’s always a good idea to see your women’s healthcare provider every few years. Depending on your circumstances, we’ll recommend one or more of these diagnostic tests:
- Pap Smear: Pap smears are used to identify precancerous cells in and around the cervix. If you receive abnormal Pap smear results, we’ll take further measures to confirm a diagnosis.
- HPV Testing: We highly suggest HPV testing in combination with a pap smear for patients age 30 or older. These tests look for signs of infection that may lead to cell mutations.
Help Spread Awareness
You can only do so much to prevent the need for cervical cancer treatment. But beyond protecting yourself, you can also take steps to protect others. The team at The Women’s Clinic of Northern Colorado is always looking for ways to promote cervical cancer awareness, and we can always use your help. Here are a few ideas for spreading the word about cervical cancer and the importance of regular screenings:
- Post to social media
- Donate or start your own fundraiser
- Create informational flyers
- Start conversations with friends, family, and colleagues
- Encourage others to get vaccinated for HPV
Reach Out to Our Team Today
Don’t put off your next cervical cancer screening! The team at The Women’s Clinic of Northern Colorado wants to help women in our community avoid HPV and cervical cancer. If you’re concerned about either of these conditions, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Our team is friendly, compassionate, and knowledgeable, and we’d be glad to answer your questions. Contact one of our providers today.