Cervical cancer screening and prevention: What you should know

Archive, Month, September

Screenings and vaccination could prevent 93% of cases.

Every year, more than 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and, sadly, it claims the lives of more than 4,000.

The disease, though, is one that can be prevented.

Dr. Garret Holcomb, an OB/GYN with McLaren Macomb, stresses the importance of preventive measures, specifically regular screenings and the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.

“The HPV vaccine is now recommended for children starting at the age of 9 up to adults through the age of 45,” Dr. Holcomb said. "Though the vaccine is not intended to treat previous HPV infection, the current vaccine provides significant protection against nine different strains and is still indicated with previous infection.”

The cancer-causing HPV virus can infect both men and women, and it’s responsible for nearly all cervical cancer cases.

As for screenings, the American Cancer Society recommends they begin at age 25 and continue until age 65.

Unfortunately, though, the number of women getting screened has been trending down over the past couple of years — dropping 84 percent since April 2020.

As with all cancers, early detection is key to increasing patients’ chances for achieving a desired outcome.

Screenings can detect the presences of abnormal, pre-cancerous cervical cells, affording the time for treatment to prevent the development of cancer and any related symptoms.

The development of symptoms is one indicator of the presence of cancer:

  • Vaginal bleeding and discharge
  • Pelvic and lower back pain
  • Pain and swelling in the legs
  • Decreased appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss


Cervical cancer screening

Make an appointment with Dr. Garret Holcomb to learn more about cervical cancer and screening recommendations.

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Primary care at McLaren Macomb

McLaren Macomb is accepting new patients! Find a primary care provider and book your appointment online.

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