An ounce of prevention
Edition: January 2013 - Vol 21 Number 01
Screening and prevention
There are various types of HPV, some of which cause changes on the cervix that eventually lead to cervical cancer. Pap tests are helpful in detecting cell changes on the cervix. As an added precaution, the HPV test screens for the virus responsible for these cell changes. Physicians sometimes rely on the HPV test to supplement the Pap test for female patients who are 30 years or older. It can also be used to provide additional information when women aged 21 or older have unclear Pap test results.
In addition, physicians may recommend their patients both female and male receive the HPV vaccine to protect against HPV infection and HPV-related diseases. The vaccines Cervarix and Gardasil have been shown to protect against HPV types 16 and 18 the types that cause most cervical cancers in women. Gardasil also protects against HPV types 6 and 11 the types that cause many genital warts in women and men. Both vaccines are available for females, while Gardasil is available for males.
Because the vaccine is said to offer the greatest health benefits to individuals who receive all three doses prior to becoming sexually active, the CDCs Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that boys and girls receive it at 11 or 12 years of age. The HPV vaccine is recommended for all teenage girls and women through age 26 and for all teen boys and men through age 21 who did not receive all three doses of the vaccine when they were younger.
By promoting diagnostic screening and appropriate vaccines to their customers, sales reps can offer more solutions, better value and a healthy start to 2013.
You can find the cervical cancer screening guidelines/charts at www.cdc.gov/cancer/cervical/pdf/guidelines.pdf