Unlike many gynecologic cancers, there is a vaccination and screening test for cervical cancer, an important distinction in preventing and identifying the disease, according to Ursula Matulonis, MD, medical director of Gynecologic Oncology in Dana-Farber’s Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers, and Colleen Feltmate, MD, director of minimally invasive surgery in Gynecologic Oncology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
In a recent Facebook Live webchat, Matulonis and Feltmate explained that boys and girls should both receive the full series of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccinations, ideally between the ages of 11 and 15, to limit their chances of contracting or spreading the virus, which is the primary cause of cervical cancer. HPV is also linked to several other cancers, including oral, vaginal, and anal.
Feltmate added that not all women know when they should see a gynecologist or start getting pap smears, or have access to this care. Both are important steps in identifying cervical cancer cells early.
In the webchat, Feltmate and Matulonis also discussed surgery for cervical cancer and new advances in treatment, and took audience questions. View the full chat below.