I hope you have heard about the new HPV vaccine for women. HPV vaccines are for girls and young women ages 9–26 to help protect against the two types of HPV that are most commonly associated with cervical cancer. These vaccines are a powerful tool to help protect today’s girls —tomorrow’s generation of women— from cervical cancer. While this is fantastic, I am not in that age group and my family has a medical history that includes cervical cancer. What can I do to protect myself?
I go to my gynecologist every year. I had a very scary experience right after I was married. My doctor found a very large fibroid tumor that was taking over my uterus. Because of my age, the doctor decided to do a myomectomy (instead of a hysterectomy) to remove the tumor so that I could still have children. I was 27 years old. Since this time I have given birth to a beautiful baby boy and hope to give him a sibling in a few years. I was able to have TJ because my doctor found the tumor at a routine yearly exam. This is one of the many reasons why going to your yearly check up is so important.
At my last checkup my doctor did a HPV test. The HPV test is conducted from the same sample as the Pap and identifies women with high-risk HPV infections that can cause cervical cancer. When used with a Pap in women 30 and older, the HPV test increases the ability to identify who is at risk of developing cervical cancer. Fortunately my results came back normal and now I don’t need to have another Pap or HPV test for three more years. I will still continue going to my yearly exam, but I don’t have to have those tests done every time I go. My doctor told me that if one or both tests come back abnormal, this doesn’t necessarily mean you have cervical cancer. It simply enables your health care provider to monitor you more closely or treat pre-cancerous cells before cervical cancer develops.
For more information about the HPV test visit www.theHPVTest.com and learn about the importance of being tested.