Most cervical cancers are caused by the Human Papillomavirus, or HPV. HPV is a sexually transmitted infection. Not all forms of HPV are transmitted sexually, and of the 40 types that do cause genital warts, only high-risk HPV can cause cervical cancer and other health problems. But because cervical cancer is difficult to detect, Gardasil is a recommended immunization for both boys and girls to help eliminate this deadly cancer.
Cervical Cancer Is the Second-Most Deadly Cancer for Women
It is very difficult to detect cervical cancer early. There are no warning symptoms. By the time symptoms do occur, it is often too late. These symptoms include vaginal bleeding after intercourse, between periods, or after menopause; watery or bloody discharge, sometimes accompanied by a foul odor; and pelvic pain and pain during intercourse.
Preventing Cervical Cancer with Gardasil
Gardasil prevents most cervical cancers. It is recommended for preteens, with four doses administered beginning at age 11. However, the CDC recommends that any woman under the age of 45 who has not had the vaccination to still get vaccinated. Even if you are outside the recommended ages, you should talk to your doctor about your risk level and whether or not the vaccine might be right for you. Boys can get the Gardasil shot series too because it prevents them from giving HPV to women in the future with whom they are sexually active.
Screening for Cervical Cancer
Because cervical cancer can affect anyone, young or old, regular pap smears are very important. Your first pap smear should be performed when you are 21 or when you become sexually active if that happens before you are 21. If you have a normal pap result, you can usually wait three years for the next one. You may also opt to get an HPV test and a pap smear, and if they both come back negative, you can wait five years for the next test.
Smokers have more than double the chance of developing cervical cancer. Smoking is already detrimental to your health, but it is deadly if you are at risk for cervical cancer.
If you are interested in learning more about Gardasil or scheduling a pap smear, get in touch. With specialized care and cutting-edge treatments in obstetrics and gynecology, Huey & Weprin Ob/Gyn offers a wide variety of gynecologic and obstetric services from leaders in Ob/Gyn research development. Call 937.771.5100 or fill out the form on this page to schedule an appointment.