According to experts in El Paso, cervical cancer is the second most common gynecological disease in the city.
Doctors generally recommend repeating Pap testing every three years for women ages 21 to 65. However, local gynecologist specialist, Dr. Salvador Saldivar, said the best way to prevent cervical cancer is having an annual check-up, being more aware and knowing the symptoms.
Saldivar adds that many of the cases he sees for women is not getting a checkup in 5 years or longer and that’s too long.
“Getting your annual Pap smears, annual gynecological exams and paying attention to certain symptoms such as bleeding during intercourse intermenstrual bleeding or back pain that may be gynecologic in origin,” Saldivar said.
Another important step you can take to prevent cervical cancer is the HPV vaccination. These vaccinations are now available to girls as young as 9 years old and women up to the age of 45. In addition, women of age 30 and older can consider Pap testing every five years if the procedure is combined with testing for HPV.
According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 13,170 new cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed in 2019.
Saldivar mentioned not being able to afford an annual checkup shouldn’t be a factor because of the multiple clinics that offer free or reduced price services around El Paso.