GENESEO, N.Y., Jan. 29, 2024 – January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month and the Livingston County Department of Health is encouraging residents to know the signs and symptoms associated with a cervix-related condition and to speak with a healthcare provider to learn more.
A growth of cells that start in the cervix, cervical cancer results in nearly 4,000 deaths and roughly 11,500 new diagnoses each year. Like many illnesses, knowing the symptoms and consulting with a healthcare profession can significantly impact treatment and outcomes.
Signs of cervical cancer may not always be clear, however, experts agree that symptoms often include vaginal bleeding after intercourse, between periods or after menopause, watery, bloody discharge that may be heavy and have a foul odor along with pelvic pain.
While there are known causes that may increase the odds of developing cervical cancer, experts agree that certain strands of the human papillomavirus, also called HPV, play a significant role in causing most cervical cancer diagnoses. A sexually-transmitted infection, HPV is a common virus that, for most, will clear on its own. For some, HPV will cause a change in cells that may lead to cancer. Other risk factors for cervical cancer include smoking, an increased number of sexual partners, early sexual activity, other sexually-transmitted infections, a weakened immune system and exposure to miscarriage prevention medications.
While common, HPV is preventable through vaccination by speaking with your primary care physician. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that parents have their children vaccinated against HPV at ages 11-12 to prevent future infections and complications.
In addition to vaccination against HPV, the CDC recommends routine pap tests, avoiding smoking, practicing safe sex and having regular visits or discussions with a healthcare provider.
Learn more about various resources available related to cervical health by visiting the National Cervical Cancer Coalition’s website.
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About Livingston County:
Founded in 1821, Livingston County, N.Y., is home to more than 61,000 residents in 17 towns located across 631 square miles of the Finger Lakes region.