Doctor raises public’s attention of cervical ails

Local OB-GYN communicates awareness, prevention, treatment options for women

LEWISTOWN — Dr. Sabrina Whitehurst, Geisinger obstetrician and gynecologist, spoke out about cervical cancer, treatment options and ways to prevent it.

“It is caused by the human Papillomavirus, HPV, which is sexually transmitted,” Whitehurst said. “This can also cause other different kinds of cancer.”

Some symptoms of cervical cancer include longer menstrial cycles and strong discomfort during sexual intercourse. Some people don’t have any symptoms.

A pap smear every three years is recommended for ages 21 to 65. The Papanicolaou test is a method of cervical screening used to detect potentially precancerous and cancerous processes in the cervix or colon.

There are a few treatment options for this type of cancer depending on when the person was diagnosed. For people diagnosed early, treatment would include radation, chemo and surgery. For people dignosted later, treatment would be a mixture of radiation and chemo.

A vaccine is recommended to prevent HPV for females ages 11 or 12.

“This protects against nine subtypes of HPV that cause the cervical cancer,” Whitehurst said.

For more information, visit www.AmericanCancerSociety.com.