DANVILLE – Cases of cervical cancer are increasing, and the age range is widening…that was the observation of a Geisinger doc on WKOK Sunrise recently. Dr. Scott Purinton, Geisinger’s Division Chief of Gynecology Oncology said, “If all women have access to screening, if they’re compliant with screening, and actually getting the HPV vaccine, cervical cancer should be nearly eliminated.”
Dr. Purinton says the sexually transmitted HPV virus is the leading cause of cervical cancer. He said the cancer is typically diagnosed in women between ages 35 and 44.
Dr. Purinton says a reduction in the number of women accessing healthcare during the height of the pandemic contributed to these increases, “Unfortunately, what I’ve seen since the initiation of the COVID pandemic, is that women are actually more afraid of COVID than they are cancer. So that equates to not coming in and being screened.”
He says besides starting screening at age 21, getting the HPV vaccine and practicing safe sex methods are other prevention methods. Dr. Purinton says the vaccine is available for both boys and girls, but there is an independent type it doesn’t prevent against, which his exceedingly rare.
He says all women should establish a relationship with their healthcare provider, “This is a very personal field. We totally get it that no one looks forward to coming in and getting a pelvic exam, and, if possible, become vaccinated before being exposure to HPV. That and living as healthy a lifestyle as possible.”
You can hear more from Dr. Scott Purinton on the WKOK.com Podcast Page or wherever you listen to podcasts.