Delano resident urges women to take Pap smears more seriously.

Ruby Rivera, 23ABC

  • Video shows the story of one woman who received unfortunate results from her pap smear and now wants to urge others to take their health more seriously.
  • Cervical Cancer is a highly preventable cancer, it all starts with regular pap smear appointments and getting the HPV vaccine.

According to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition, nearly 13,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year in the U.S. and shockingly — it’s one of the most preventable cancers today. Health officials say the key to staying healthy is only one check up away.

“I didn’t know that you were supposed to get one as soon as you started being sexually active, I thought it was once you turned 21,” said Delano resident Irais Carrillo. “They called me telling me that I had some precancerous cells on my cervix, so they wanted to get a biopsy done to see was the level.”

Carrillo says she got her first pap smear at age 23 and although she’s grateful to have caught those precancerous cells early, she also felt uneasy after being close to developing cancerous cells at any moment.

“I was really scared, I got depressed, I didn’t know what to expect because I was just like how did all this happen just in a like — just from one pap smear,” said Carrillo.

Medical Director at the Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Center Dr. Ravi Patel says HPV typically occurs more in sexually active people. If not treated properly with early detection, it can lead to increase chances of developing cervical cancer.

“Younger people are sexually active, and you don’t want to get infected by the HPV virus because that increases the complications and the risks of the cancer, particularly cervical cancer,” said Dr. Patel.

The American Sexual Health Organization says HPV infections are estimated to cause about 34,800 cases of cancer in the U.S. every year.

But it’s not just women who can be affected by the HPV virus. While men won’t develop cervical cancer — Kaiser Permanente OBGYN Jennifer Aguayo says other cancers can occur.

“Men can develop penile cancer, oral fringier cancer, anal cancer, due to the HPV infection,” said Dr. Aguayo.

Aside from getting regular screenings, both Dr. Aguayo and Dr. Patel say getting the HPV vaccine is highly effective in preventing cervical cancer. But Dr. Patel says there’s some misconceptions behind the vaccine that he believes prevents people from getting it.

“Fertility issues, they may not be able to have children or if they have children there could be defects in the babies,” said Dr. Patel. “None of that has been proven, your health at a young age is very precious.”

Something that Carrillo agrees with and hopes that more women understand the importance of getting screened.

“It is scary to you know think about a pap smear because of what people tell you but I think to be safe than sorry,” said Carrillo.

The NCCC estimates that 75-80% of people will contract HPV. Officials say only one in four Americans between 15-and-49 have not had the HPV infection. Health officials point to those numbers as the reason why it’s important to be screened regularly.

To learn more about cervical cancer, click here.

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Ruby Rivera, 23ABC

2024-01-05 03:56:38 , News

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