We are committed to the screening and early detection of all gynecologic cancers. Screening tests are used to look for disease before you exhibit any symptoms, and are effective when they detect disease early, leading to more effective treatment and positive outcomes.
We suggest the following screening guidelines for early detection and prevention of gynecologic cancers:
Cervical cancer – Regular testing for cervical cancer should begin at age 21 for cervical cancer prevention. If you are between the ages of 21 and 29, you should have a screening test every three years. Between the ages of 30 and 65, you should have a screening test every five years. If you are over the age of 65 with normal cervical cancer test results, you should no longer be tested. Women over the age of 65 with a history of cervical pre-cancer should continue to be tested for at least 20 years.
Uterine cancer – The American Cancer Society recommends that at the time of menopause, all women should be told about the risks and symptoms of endometrial cancer, which may include abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge, or pelvic pain and pressure. Some women, due to their history, may need to consider having a yearly endometrial biopsy.
Ovarian cancer – There are not currently any screening tests available for ovarian cancer. Doctors often perform a pelvic exam, which includes checking the ovaries, but this exam does not generally detect ovarian cysts unless they are very large. Doctors rely on the common symptoms of bloating, abdominal pain and change in urinary symptoms to guide them in the detection of ovarian cancer. If you believe you are at risk for ovarian cancer,
Vaginal and vulvar cancer – Currently, there are no screening tests available for vaginal and vulvar cancer. The best way for you to know if you might have these cancer types is to get regular check-ups and notify your doctor if you have any signs or symptoms
Each specific type of gynecologic cancer has its own unique set of risk factors, and there is no way to know who will get gynecologic cancer. We are committed to working with you to understand your specific family and medical history and symptoms to develop a screening program specific to your needs.
HPV VACCINATION AND PREVENTION OF CERVICAL CANCER
The development of new HPV vaccines and the demonstration of their safety and effectiveness are major breakthroughs that could prevent most cases of cervical cancer.
Who Should Get HPV Vaccine?
HPV vaccination is recommended for adolescent girls and boys at age 11 or 12 years. All adolescents need HPV vaccination so they can be protected from HPV infections that cause cervical cancer.
Vaccination series can be started at age 9 and through age 14. Teens and young women can get HPV vaccine until they are 27 years old and young men should get HPV vaccine until they are 22 years old.
The first dose is routinely recommended at 11-12 years old. The second dose of the vaccine should be administered 2 months after the first dose and third dose six months after first dose.
Who Should Not Get HPV Vaccine?
Tell your doctor about any severe allergies. People who have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to any ingredient of an HPV vaccine, or to a previous dose of HPV vaccine.
People who have an allergy to yeast. HPV vaccines are safe for children who are mildly ill – for example, with a low-grade fever of less than 101 degrees, a cold, runny nose, or cough. People with a moderate or severe illness should wait until they are better.
What Types of HPV Vaccines Are There?
Three HPV vaccines have been licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Gardasil (Merck) is a quadrivalent HPV vaccine (4vHPV) that protects against HPV types 6, 11, 16, and 18.
Gardasil-9 (Merck) is a nine-valent HPV vaccine (9vHPV) that protects against HPV types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 45, 52, and 58.
All three HPV vaccines protect against the two HPV types, 16 and 18, that cause most HPV cancers.
How Well Do These Vaccines Work?
HPV vaccination works extremely well. Clinical trials showed the vaccines provided close to 100% protection against precancers and, for Gardasil and Gardasil 9, genital warts.
Since the vaccine was first recommended in 2006, there has been a significant reduction in HPV infections.
Research has also shown that fewer teens and young adults are getting genital warts.
HPV vaccine offers long-lasting protection against HPV infection and HPV disease
10 years of data show that HPV vaccination provides long-lasting protection.
There is no evidence to suggest that HPV vaccine loses the ability to provide protection over time.
What Are the Possible Side Effects?
Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects. Many people who get HPV vaccine have no side effects at all. Some people report having very mild side effects, like a sore arm from the shot.
The most common side effects of HPV vaccine are usually mild, and include:
· Pain, redness, or swelling in the arm where the shot was given
· Headache or feeling tired
· Muscle or joint pain
Brief fainting spells and related symptoms (such as jerking movements) can happen after any medical procedure, including vaccination. Sitting or lying down when getting a shot and staying in that position for about 15 minutes after a vaccination can help prevent fainting and injuries caused by falls.
On very rare occasions, severe (anaphylactic) allergic reactions may occur after vaccination. People with severe allergies to any component of a vaccine should not receive that vaccine.