National Cervical Health Awareness Month

Dr. Amy Fix is a second-year family medicine resident at Washington Health System. She is originally from Greensboro, North Carolina. She received her undergraduate degree at East Carolina University in Chemistry and Biology. She then decided to trade in humid temperatures for snow, and went on to attend Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Erie, PA. In her spare time, you can find her going to kickboxing classes, hanging out with her dog Trouble, or carefully creating charcuterie boards.

January is cervical health awareness month. Cervical cancer has lower incidence than uterine and ovarian cancer, but in countries that do not have access to cervical cancer screening and prevention, there is an increase in death. Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that affects cells in the cervix, which is the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina.

Did you know that in 2020 cervical cancer was the fourth most common cancer in females? In the United States, there is an estimated 14,100 new cases of invasive cervical cancer and 4280 cancer-related deaths every year!

Now what if I told you that could be decreased with a simple screening test? That’s right, I am talking about Pap smears. Pap smear is the recommended test to screen for cervical cancer! Screening begins at age 21 in the United States. It is also recommended to get the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine as cervical cancer can be due to HPV. The vaccine for HPV is called Gardasil and protects against 9 subtypes of HPV! Talk to your health care provider today about getting the HPV vaccine! Talk to your PCP about cervical cancer screening. This is the best way to protect and prevent cervical cancer early!