Cervical cancer is best prevented by the HPV vaccination. Risk of acquiring HPV increases when you have more sexual partners. It is important to use condoms every time you have sex.
At your gynecologic visit, your physician may perform a pap smear for cervical cancer screening.
Depending on the results of your pap smear and your age, you may also receive screening for Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). HPV is a sexually transmitted virus that can cause cervical cancer. There is a vaccination, typically given by either the pediatrician or at Princeton Medical Group, that can prevent certain strains of HPV.
Cervical Cancer Prevention
Mammography is recommended annually above age 40. For women with a family history of breast cancer, screening usually begins 5 years earlier than the youngest age of diagnosis. Mammograms are the only screening method that can detect micro-calcifications, which can be associated with early breast cancer or precancer. The Radiology center will inform you of normal results or the need for additional imaging. Established patients who have access to their patient portal are able to view their mammogram results online.
If a woman has family members with breast cancer she may be offered genetic screening; this is particularly true if there are several first-degree relatives or relatives with cancer at a young age. Please refer to the ovarian cancer screening section below for more information on genetic screening.
Dense Breast Information
Breasts are composed of glands that make breast milk and fatty tissue. For women with extremely dense breasts, referred to as category D breast density, the mammogram can be less reliable. PMG patients in this category will be offered a screening breast ultrasound to be performed 6 months after the mammogram.
During a screening breast ultrasound, both breasts will be viewed entirely with the ultrasound at a Radiology facility. This is different than a diagnostic breast ultrasound performed on a specific area in response to an abnormality found on a mammogram or felt by the patient or her doctor.
There remains no reliable screening test for ovarian cancer.
Both tubal ligation (“tying tubes”) or removal and hormonal contraception (pills & contraceptive ring) decrease the risk of ovarian cancer.
For women at highest risk, particularly women with a genetic risk, surgical removal of the tubes and ovaries may be offered.
If a woman has a family history of ovarian cancer or a strong family history of breast, ovarian, pancreatic or other cancers, genetic testing for an inherited genetic risk should be considered. Knowledge of genetic risk allows for preventative screening and sometimes risk reducing medications and surgical procedures. It is important to receive genetic counseling to properly understand if you should get this test and afterwards to understand the results of your test. Blood testing for cancer mutations can be performed through our office. Patients can also directly order a Color Home Hereditary Cancer Test, which is a home saliva test that uses the same technology at a fixed price. Color also includes genetic counseling.