Wednesday, January 23, 2008


In 2007, the American Cancer Society estimated there were 11,000 cases of cervical cancer diagnosed in the United States. While cervical cancer is at a four percent decrease overall, thousands of women are still dying as a result of it each year. January is Cervical Cancer Awareness and Screening Month and Piedmont Hospital is encouraging women throughout Georgia to get cervical cancer screenings.

The primary reason for the decline in the incidence and mortality rate of women with cervical cancer is due to the widespread use of the Papanicolaou (Pap) test to detect cervical abnormalities. A Pap test can detect cervical cancer before it spreads or even develops – dramatically improving the odds of surviving the disease, and it is the most important thing women can do to protect themselves from cervical cancer.

“Regular screenings for women are the first defense against cervical cancer,” said Alfred Jenkins, M.D., OBGYN at Piedmont Gynecology Oncology. "If more women were screened regularly, many unnecessary deaths from cervical cancer could be avoided."

The American Cancer Society recommends two ways to prevent cancer: Avoid the risk factors for pre-cancers, such as HPV, and get a regular Pap test. The Pap test can even detect HPV infection and pre-cancers. Treatment of these problems can stop cervical cancer before it develops fully into an invasive cancer.

“Since January is Cervical Cancer Awareness and Screening Month, it is the perfect time to encourage women to see their doctor to get screened for cervical cancer,” Dr. Jenkins said. “I also encourage them to ask their doctor about the HPV vaccine as another method to prevent cervical cancer.”

Dr. Jenkins has been a part of the Piedmont Healthcare family since early last year, working with Piedmont Gynecologic Oncology located on the Piedmont Hospital campus. He also holds part-time office hours at Piedmont Fayette Hospital in Fayetteville. Dr. Jenkins is board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology and gynecologic oncology. Prior to joining Piedmont Gynecologic Oncology, Dr. Jenkins served as director of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center-Orlando. While there, he performed the first gynecologic robotics procedure in the state of Florida. He also performs fertility-sparing surgery for cervical cancer.

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