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UAB doctors working to end cervical cancer in Alabama

 


Birmingham, Alabama (WAFF) – Cervical cancer is a public health problem in the United States and Alabama.

About 13,000 new cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed in the United States each year, and about 4,000 women die from the cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“While incidence rates are highest among Hispanics, mortality rates are higher among African American women,” said Dr. Isabel Scarinci, UAB Vice Chair for Global and Rural Health in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

“Alabama has the third highest cervical cancer incidence and one of the third highest mortality rates in the United States,” she added.

Doctors at the University of Alabama at Birmingham are working to raise awareness of cancer and prevent it from occurring in the state.

“We can eliminate cervical cancer as a public health problem,” said Dr. Scalinch.

Long-term infection with certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV) is the leading cause of cervical cancer, according to health care providers.

Dr. Scarinci said Alabama has high incidence and mortality for two reasons.

  • lack of screening: Screening can detect HPV and cervical changes before they become cancer.

“Young women, women under 30, we know they now do a PAP called a Pap test. We’ll do PAP and we’ll do an HPV test,” she said.

“We do not test women under 30 for HPV because if they are positive there is nothing we can do. There is no cure for HPV. [when it] It remains something that needs to be monitored,” added Dr. Scullynch.

  • No follow-up appointment: Women with abnormal screenings will not return for follow-up appointments.

“About 40%…40% of women who have an abnormal screening do not come back for follow-up here at UAB, which is a very high number,” said Dr. Scarinci.

In addition to screening and timely follow-up, HPV vaccination is also an important tool for preventing precancers and cancers, she says.

“Vaccines are most effective before a person is exposed to the virus. That is why HPV vaccination is recommended for children (boys and girls) between the ages of 11 and 12. As early as between the ages of 9 and 26. You can start,” said Dr. Scalinch. “Some people can get vaccinated up to age 45 after talking to their health care providers.”

“Another important thing is that vaccines are covered by most health insurance. vaccines for childrenThe vaccine is free because this is a federal program that covers vaccines,” she said.

According to Dr. Scarynch, cervical cancer prevention is in our hands. She said the UAB is developing a plan called “Operation Cleanup” to eradicate cancer as a public health problem in Alabama.

“Civil society involvement will be important,” she said. “We are affiliated with Rotary clubs. We are affiliated with Together for Healthit is a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating cervical cancer. “

“We are doing research on self-sampling for HPV testing, which means women can collect their own samples. [and] put [it] Emailed, no need to go inside[to a doctor’s office]But it’s still in the research stage. He has not yet been approved by the FDA,” said Dr. Scalinch.

Dr Scarinci said UAB doctors are also considering vaccination in schools.

“Cervical cancer is the cancer that we have hope for….just the idea that we can eliminate it….eliminating cancer, certain cancers, is very It’s a great opportunity,” she said.

Dr. Scarynch says he hopes to begin “Operation Wipe Out” in January.

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