Cervical Health Awareness Month

by 26Health Staff

Cervical cancer screening guidelines

It is recognized that HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) is the cause for most instances of cervical cancer.  It is also well recognized that HPV is sexually acquired.  However, it is important to keep in mind that most exposures and infections related to HPV are transient, or temporary, and our body’s immune system can clear the virus, along with the relevant risks, quite effectively.  Persistent infection/exposure (e.g. at least throughout one to two years) is usually the risk factor that increases one’s risk of developing cervical cancer.

The following is an approach to screening taken from ACOG Practice Bulletin, #168:

Cervical cancer table 1.1

Alternatively, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations are as follows:

Cervical cancer

Once a Pap smear/HPV testing is performed, the following outlines one set of treatment guidelines:

Cervical cancer Table 2

In summary, the basics of medicine apply to cervical cancer screening as any other screening.  There is no substitute for a thorough history and physical exam.  In screening patients for cervical cancer, interpreting Pap smear/HPV results, and/or formulating a treatment/follow up plan, it’s more important than ever to be reminded that it is the patient we are treating and not just the lab value.

Wishing you good health,

For additional information visit the National LGBT Cancer Network


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