COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - January has been deemed cervical health awareness month and Piedmont Columbus Regional wants to make sure women are taking steps to prevent cervical cancer.
More than 13,000 women a year are diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Symptoms of cervical cancer, according to Piedmont Physicians Obstetrics and Gynecology’s Dr. Timothy Villegas, include heavy or irregular vaginal bleeding and unusual vaginal discharge.
If the cancer is in advanced stages, patients can see pelvic pain and pressure as well as bowel and bladder symptoms.
To help prevent cervical cancer, Dr. Villegas says effective use of STD prevention and stopping smoking.
He also says getting HPV vaccine is important. Typically, they like to make sure young people have the vaccine before becoming sexually active, so they usually begin vaccinating at the age of 11. You can still get the vaccine later on in life, however.
They also recommend that women begin getting a pap smear every three years after turning 21. After age 30, they may reduce the frequency to every five years.
To schedule an appointment with Piedmont Physicians Obstetrics and Gynecology, call (706) 653-8556.