HEALTHIER YOU: Taking care of our health in the new year
BY DR. ANNETTE MAYES
Women, we have to do better. Better when it comes to taking care of ourselves, better at prioritizing our health. We must take the time to receive our regular physical health examination. January is Cervical Health Awareness Month and a chance to raise awareness about how women can protect themselves from HPV — a very common infection that spreads through sexual activity and is a major cause of cervical cancer.
About 79 million Americans currently have HPV, and many don’t know they’re infected. Each year, more than 11,000 women in the United States get cervical cancer. The good news is that vaccines can prevent HPV. Also, cervical cancer can often be prevented with pap tests and follow-up care.
It is important to spread the word about the important steps women can take to stay healthy. You can help by assisting with getting the word out about cervical health: Encourage other women to get their well-woman visit this year. Let women know that most insurance plans must cover well-woman visits and cervical cancer screenings. Talk to parents about how important it is for their pre-teens, boys and girls, to get the HPV vaccine.
The most common symptoms and signs of cervical cancer are:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding,
- Increase vaginal discharge,
- Bleeding after going through menopause,
- Pain during sex, and
- Pelvic pain.
Cervical cancer can be diagnosed using a Pap smear or other procedures that sample the cervical tissue. Chest X-rays, CT scan, MRI, and a PET scan many be used to determine the stage of cervical cancer. The prognosis of cervical cancer depends upon the stage and type of cervical cancer as well as the tumor size.
So, ladies let’s do right by us. Get your scheduled pap smears, and be disciplined with your medical check-ups. Let’s make sure the New Year is met with a new you.
For additional information, contact the Las Vegas All Women’s Care Offices at (702) 522-9640. Or visit us at 700 Shadow Lane No. 165 (1st floor) in Las Vegas.