HPV Vaccine: One of the big messages we need to get out to people is that the HPV vaccine is safe and effective. This is a vaccination that can prevent cancer. We need to make people aware that the vaccine can prevent not just one, but several types of cancer including cervical, vulva, and vaginal. It also protects against condyloma (genital warts) and even some head and neck cancers. Many think this is a vaccine associated with sexual relations, but it is safe and effective for everyone. Age recommendation: Approved for ages 9-26, both boys and girls.
Endometrial Cancer: A big thing that’s overlooked is there’s a very direct association with many endometrial cancers and obesity. It’s not talked about much in primary care settings, but there are risk factors associated with cancer. Age recommendation: Typically perimenopause and post-menopause women but can be younger.
Ovarian Cancer: Unfortunately, when we talk about ovarian cancer we often hear women talking about some of the symptoms. If you have bloating, changes in bowel or bladder habits, or a change in appetite, and if you have been diagnosed with something like a urinary tract infection that doesn’t clear up, take the next steps. Ask for a pelvic exam. My message is if you have reoccurring symptoms that last a few weeks, and if you are predisposed to ovarian cancer, then talk to your doctor about testing. Age recommendation: Roughly 50 and older, but can be younger.
Genetic Testing: Know your family history. Most cancers are not genetic but if you have a history of cancer, then getting screened for mutations is a benefit to your long-term health. If you have more than one family member with the same type of cancer such as endometrial, colon, breast, or ovarian, then genetic testing is recommended. A blood or salvia test can provide information that helps prevent certain types of cancer. The results are typically available in about two weeks. Age recommendation: 21 and older.
-- T.J. Banes
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Cancer care includes a variety of treatments, systematic therapies, surgery and clinical trials.