Documentary Stresses Importance of Cervical Health

Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers among women worldwide, but early detection and awareness can significantly cut your chances of developing the disease.

To spread the word and celebrate Globe-athon, an international movement to end women's cancers, Mercy is joining forces with GYN Cancers Alliance (GYNCA) in Springfield for a screening of NED: No Evidence of Disease, at Hammons Heart Institute at 1325 E. Cherokee. The free showing on Thursday, Sept. 4, starts at 5:30 p.m. and is open to the public.

“It’s a documentary of six gynecologic oncologists from around the country who form a rock band to help their patients and raise awareness for the signs and symptoms of ‘below the belt’ cancers,” explained Ashley Berry, events manager with GYNCA. “It showcases the importance of women’s health and knowing our bodies. It will get you motivated, make you want to dance and overall inspire you to take action in your daily life.”

More than 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, according to the Foundation for Women’s Cancer. A major cause is HPV, or the human papillomavirus; about 20 million Americans currently have HPV, the most common sexually transmitted virus in the United States. For every 10 people, seven will have HPV at one point in their lives, and most will never know it.

“Seventy percent of high school students are sexually active before graduation, so early vaccination is important,” said Dr. Jay Carlson at Mercy Springfield. “Within the Mercy system, we have the full complement of personnel to facilitate screening that would start with their primary care provider. We also have specialty providers within gynecology that would further evaluate any abnormalities identified. We also have the gynecologic cancer expertise to treat those are identified with a cancer.”

Mercy encourages people to know and follow these guidelines to protect themselves and those they love from cervical cancer:

Girls and women ages 9-26 should get HPV vaccine Boys and men ages 9-26 are encouraged to get HPV vaccine Vaccinate early; Pap test regularly Women older than 30 should get HPV test along with Pap

“Unlike most cancers, cervical cancer can be detected in a pre-cancer state if patients are screened,” added Dr. Carlson. “The Pap test works. If patients get that, we can detect the problem and treat it before it becomes a cancer.”

Most adults have been infected with HPV at some time. An infection may go away on its own, but sometimes it can cause genital warts or lead to cervical cancer. Click here for more resources on cervical cancer.

There will be a physician's discussion planel at the Sept. 4 screening. Light snacks will be provided. For more information, contact Ashley at (417) 869-2220 or Ashleygynca [dot] org. 

GYN Cancers Alliance provides education, resources and support to local women and caregivers affected by gynecologic cancers in a 23-county area. It’s located at 3023 S. Fort, Suite D, in Springfield.

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