Jan 8, 2019 | Stamps Health Services
January is Cervical Health Awareness Month and a great reminder to visit the women’s health clinic in Stamps Health Services (SHS) for your annual wellness exam.
The National Cervical Cancer Coalition states that roughly 13,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year. Nearly all cervical cancers are caused by Human Papillomavirus (HPV), which is a common virus that is passed from one person to another during sexual activity. HPV is the #1 sexually transmitted infection (STI) in America and nearly all cases of cervical cancer and genital warts are caused by HPV.
The women’s health clinic within SHS provides routine, preventive health services such as annual gynecologic wellness exams, Pap tests, contraception consults, and screenings for Georgia Tech students and eligible partners. The Pap test (or Pap smear) looks for precancerous, cell changes on the cervix that might become cervical cancer if they are not treated appropriately. A Pap test can identify any cell changes to the cervix caused by HPV. The HPV test is another option that looks for the virus that can cause these precancerous cell changes. SHS Nurse Practitioner and Women’s Health Manager, Shan Baker said, “Early detection is a key component of cervical cancer prevention, so it is important to start routine screening for cervical cancer at age 21 and to see your provider on a regular basis. HPV tests may be used in certain situations to find the virus and help healthcare providers know which women are at highest risk for cervical cancer.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, the HPV vaccine can prevent most cases of cervical cancer if given before you have been exposed to the virus. As of October, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded the approved use of the Gardasil 9 HPV vaccine in males and females to age 45. Gardasil 9 prevents infections with the “high-risk” HPV types most commonly found in a number of cancers worldwide, including cervical cancer. The vaccine also protects against “low-risk” HPV types associated with most cases of genital warts.
SHS board-certified OB/GYN physician and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses can diagnose and treat your common gynecologic problems. Our women’s health staff is trained to assist with any special concerns or considerations you may have regarding your healthcare including those who identify as transgender, gender variant, and intersex students. Care is provided in a comfortable, private environment and is tailored to your specific needs and concerns. *You can schedule your appointment today by visiting the SHS clinic or calling (404) 894-1434.