Story by Jason Bortz on 02/06/2019
PENSACOLA, Florida (Jan. 29, 2019) Naval Hospital Pensacola's Comprehensive Women's Health Center provides early detection screenings and treatment for cervical cancer.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cervical cancer is highly preventable because screening tests for cervical cancer and vaccines to protect against human papillomavirus (HPV), which is the main cause of cervical cancer, are readily available. Cervical cancer is highly treatable and associated with long survival and good quality of life when it is found early.
"Over 90 percent of cervical cancer is caused by HPV," said Lt. Cmdr. Leslye Green, staff obstetrician and gynecologist, NHP. "The guidelines have changed in the last 15 years since more has been learned about the human papillomavirus, so it has been added as part of the testing. Cervical cancer is treatable, and it is very important that people are aware of and follow the recommended guidelines."
Screening is an important part of women's health care. Women who are 21 years or older should be screened for cervical cancer and follow the recommended guidelines. Women 21 29 years old should have cervical cytology (a Pap smear) completed every three years while women 30 65 years old should have a co-test, which is a Pap smear plus the HPV test completed every five years.
"With the screening schedules spaced out over three or five years, people tend to forget and let it fall off of their radar," said Green, from St. Rose, Louisiana. "A good way to remember the three or five year screenings is by ensuring annual screenings such as breast and pelvic examinations are also being completed."
According to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition, nearly 13,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, however, the disease is preventable with vaccination and screening tests. Vaccines prevent HPV infection and offer the greatest health benefit when received prior to exposure to HPV, which is a sexually transmitted infection.
Green explained that NHP offers all of the treatment, prevention and screenings for cervical cancer. The Immunizations Clinic offers the HPV vaccine while the Comprehensive Women's Health Center offers Pap smears, HPV co-testing (Pap smear and HPV testing), colposcopy, loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) and hysterectomy.
"Here at NHP, we offer the basic services for cervical cancer prevention and we have a large female military force that is present," said Green. "The best advice I can give to a patient is to follow the recommended guidelines that are individualized for them."
The Comprehensive Women's Health Center is available to all TRICARE beneficiaries. Please contact the clinic at 850-505-6287 for more information.
Established in 1826, Naval Hospital Pensacola's mission is to deliver high quality health care to ensure a medically ready force and a ready medical force through strategic partnerships and innovation. The command is comprised of the main hospital and 10 branch health clinics across five states. To find out more, visit http://www.med.navy.mil/sites/pcola/Pages/default.aspx or download the command's mobile app (keyword: Naval Hospital Pensacola).