Tuesday, February 10, 2015

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. – Did you know that each year in the United States, nearly 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and about 4,000 women die from it?

Did you also know that simple screening could help reduce the risk of cervical cancer?

Doctors with Summit Women's Group – Chambersburg are encouraging women to get a Pap test.

A Pap test looks for cell changes on the cervix that might become cervical cancer when not treated, said Dr. Laurice Heine of Summit Women's Group – Chambersburg.

"Cervical cancer doesn't always show symptoms. So, the best thing that women can do to reduce their risk of cervical cancer is get a Pap test," said Dr. Heine. "It is simple, takes less than 10 minutes, and is generally painless."

Who should get a Pap test and how often? According to the American Cancer Society screening guidelines:

  • Women younger than 21 years old – No screening
  • Women 21 to 65 years old – Every 3 years if results are normal
  • Women over 65 years old – May discontinue screening after adequate negative prior screening results

These guidelines do not pertain to all women, advised Dr. Heine. Your medical history may affect screening recommendations.

You should discuss ideal screening frequency with your doctor. Your provider may also recommend screening for high-risk human papilloma virus (HPV) along with your Pap test, she said.

Other ways to reduce your risk of cervical cancer is to get an HPV vaccine, which is recommended for girls ages 9 to 26. Also, limit your number of sexual partners and use condoms during sexual intercourse.

"As always, it's important to talk to your doctor if you have specific questions or concerns," Dr. Heine recommended.

Summit Women's Group – Chambersburg is located in the Summit Health Center – Building 2 at 12 St. Paul Dr., Suite 207, Chambersburg.

For more information on cervical cancer prevention, or to schedule an appointment, call (717) 217-6882.

Summit Health is a non-profit network of hospitals and physician practices dedicated to building a healthier community.

As Franklin County's leading healthcare provider, Summit Health offers family care, specialists, lab and imaging services, a fitness center, two walk-in care centers, and two award-winning hospitals.

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