Preventing and detecting cervical cancer

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Fifty to seventy five years ago, cervical cancer was the number one cause of cancer death in women.

However, now, with the development and utilization of pap smears as an effective screening method for the disease, cervical cancer does not even make the list of top ten incidences of cancer death in women.

And the fact that cervical cancer usually doesn’t present with distinct symptoms, further emphasizes the importance of screening.

More than ninety-nine percent of cervical cancer cases are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Therefore, another effective method of preventing the disease is to receive the HPV vaccine.

The vaccine is most effective when given before an individual becomes sexually active.

The optimal age for females and males to receive the HPV vaccine is between eleven to twelve years, and is safe for individuals as young as nine.

There are two main forms of treatment for cervical cancer based on the stage of the disease. For early stage disease, a surgery called radical hysterectomy is performed to remove the malignancies.

For advanced stage cervical cancer, the treatment plan involves radiation therapy.

Cone Health Cancer Center understands the importance of screening to prevent and/or detect cervical cancer early.

Therefore, the Center is offering several free cervical cancer screenings throughout the months of March and April to individuals throughout the community who cannot afford to see their physician.

For information on gynecologic cancers and/or the services of Cone Health Cancer Center, visit or call (336)832-1100.

Spokesperson Background:
Nancy Wilkinson is the clinical nurse specialist for gynecological oncology at Cone Health Cancer Center.

She earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1982 and a Master of Science in Nursing in 1994 from University of North Carolina at Greensboro School of Nursing.