Many women know that their annual gynecological visit is an important part of their overall wellness. They know that the Pap smear is critical to detecting cervical cancer, the breast exam for breast cancer, and the internal vaginal exam for ovarian cancer. While these types of reproductive cancers are serious, their treatability is greatly improved by early detection.
Dr. Taryll L. Jenkins has been practicing Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Medicine for many years. He understands that early detection is important, and therefore, works hard to ensure that patients maintain a consistent schedule of well-woman visits.
If, during one of these visits, a vaginal or cervical cancer is suspected, Dr. Jenkins will investigate it further with a biopsy. A biopsy is a minor surgical procedure in which cells and tissue are removed from the suspected area. The cells are then sent to a pathologist who will look at them under a high-powered microscope to look for abnormal cells. If abnormal cells are detected, then patients will have several choices for treatment.
The treatment path for any individual patient is unique and depends on many factors, including the amount of cancerous cells that are found, how far the disease has spread, and the patient’s overall health. In some cases, the abnormal tissue can be removed through surgery, while in other cases chemotherapy or radiation therapy will be necessary.
While many individuals who find out they have cervical or vaginal cancer do not have any warning signs, some symptoms could be an indication of a problem. These symptoms include abnormal vaginal bleeding that occurs between periods, after sex, or after menopause, pain the lower abdomen or pelvic area, pain while having sex, or abnormal vaginal discharge. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to make an appointment to rule out a more serious problem.
It’s also important to note that the process from suspecting cancer to confirming or ruling it out can take several days or even several weeks. During this time, a woman may feel many different emotions including fear, sadness, anger, and much more. Patients should feel comfortable calling their physician and nursing team. At the Jenkins Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Medicine our team is committed to making sure our patients have all their questions answered and their concerns addressed.
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