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January 28, 2014

Archbold offering free cervical cancer screenings

THOMASVILLE — The American Cancer Society estimates that 12,340 new cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year. And in addition, 4,030 women in our country will die from the disease.

But there is good news related to cervical cancer — experts say death rates related to the disease are steadily declining thanks to advances in screening for cervical cancer, a disease that was once one of the most common cause of cancer death for women in our country.

“Between 1955 and 1992, the cervical cancer death rate declined by almost 70 percent, and death rates have remained stable ever since,” said Singletary Oncology Center administrator Bill Tustin.

And physicians say the reason for the success in treating cervical cancer is because of screening tests that help catch the disease in its earliest and most treatable stages.

“Since the most common form of cervical cancer starts with pre-cancerous changes, regular screenings as recommended by your physician have proven to not only reduce your risk of developing the disease, but have also helped us treat pre-cancers before the disease develops fully in these women,” said Archbold Primary Care physician, Kimberly Pickens, MD.

Pickens said the most important risk factor for cervical cancer is infection by the human papilloma virus (HPV), a virus transmitted during sexual intercourse. Other risk factors include genetics, smoking, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Chlamydia infection, poor diet, a prolonged use of oral contraceptives or use of intrauterine device for birth control, multiple full-term pregnancies (three or more) or history of pregnancy at an early age (17 years of age or younger), as well as  history of family usage of the  drug Diethylstilbestrol (DES), a hormonal drug that was given to some women to prevent miscarriage between 1940 and 1971.

“We know that women with these risk factors are at higher risk for developing the disease, but it’s still very important for all women ages 21 and over to maintain a regular cervical screening regimen based on their physician’s recommendations,” said Pickens.

On Friday,  Archbold physicians and providers will offer free cervical cancer screenings from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. at the Singletary Oncology Center. Tests and results will be provided at no cost to participants as a clinical outreach effort supporting Archbold’s Core Value of Community Benefit. Other screenings that will be offered during the event include clinical breast exams and cardiovascular screenings such as cholesterol, glucose and blood pressure testing.

This event does not require a reservation. For more information on the free cancer screenings, call (229) 584-5520.

 

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