Grand Island CHI Health raising awareness for cervical cancer
GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 14,480 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer and more than 4,000 died from the disease in 2021.
Chelsey Kennedy, women’s health practitioner for CHI Health Clinic Women’s Health in Grand Island said, the first step of prevention is for both men and women to get a HPV vaccine starting between the ages of 9 to 12 years old. After women turn 21 years old, Kennedy said, is when it’s recommended to start getting cervical cancer screenings. This exam involves collecting the cells on the cervix to check for any cellular changes and also for HPV infections.
She noted, there is a reason it’s essential to stay on top of these check ups.
“The sooner we can see those patients and do those annual screening exams, than the quicker we can identify any cellular changes or early cervical cancer then to start treatments on sooner,” Kennedy said.
She added, it is important to have a speculum exam every year and to have a Pap smear every few years.
Kennedy recommended how people bring awareness to the disease through the remainder of Cervical Cancer Awareness Month and beyond.
“I think it’s just a matter of communicating with your providers and being an advocate for yourself, I think the more women visit with each other and visit with their healthcare providers and learn and educate themselves on their bodies and their signs in symptoms … then the more willing, I think, women are to discuss these issues,” she said.
Kennedy said while sometimes there are symptoms of cervical cancer, they aren’t usually noticeable until the disease is further in it’s course.
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