What Are the Early Warning Signs of Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers among women. The World Health Organization estimates that 570,000 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer worldwide in 2018 alone.
Cervical cancer is preventable, and early diagnosis and treatment are critical for successful outcomes. Experienced gynecologist Dr. Gerry Sotomayor and the team at Gynecology and Cosmetic Surgery Center of Atlanta are passionate about providing information and resources about cervical cancer to women in Peachtree Corners and Atlanta. Below, our clinic in Norcross, GA explores early warning signs of cervical cancer and the importance of regular Pap smears.
How is cervical cancer detected?
Cervical cancer is mainly detected through a Pap smear, a test that detects abnormal cells in the cervix. Pap smears are suggested for women beginning at age 21 and performed regularly throughout adulthood. They can be done as part of a well-woman exam or when a woman has symptoms that may indicate cervical cancer.
To begin this cancer screening, patients lie down on an exam table with their feet placed in stirrups. A gynecologist carefully inserts a speculum into the vagina to obtain a small tissue sample. The sample is sent to a special lab for analysis. Gynecology and Cosmetic Surgery Center of Atlanta will call with your results as soon as they are available.
What symptoms should I look out for?
All women should be aware of the early warning signs of cervical cancer. Symptoms can vary and may not always indicate a serious problem. However, it's important to see a gynecologist for a Pap smear or cancer screening if any of the following symptoms persist in the areas of Peachtree Corners and Atlanta:
Unexplained vaginal bleeding
Abnormal vaginal discharge
Pain during intercourse
Pelvic pain or pain in the lower back
Pain and swelling in the legs
Unexplained weight loss
What if my results come back abnormal?
If your Pap smear results come back abnormal, don't panic. Many abnormalities are not indicative of cancer and can be treated successfully. Of course, it's essential to seek medical attention right away to determine the cause of the anomaly and begin any necessary treatment. Gynecology and Cosmetic Surgery Center of Atlanta may recommend a laser ablation cone procedure to destroy any abnormal cells.
A laser ablation cone procedure is minimally invasive and only takes 10 – 15 minutes to perform, but patients should plan 2 – 3 days for recovery at home. We begin by numbing the area, so you feel comfortable. Our team then uses a precise CO2 laser to vaporize the abnormal cells. Because the laser technology is so advanced, the surrounding tissue is unharmed.
What are the benefits of the laser ablation cone?
Laser ablation cone procedures have been used for years to treat abnormal cell growth in the cervix. Dr. Sotomayor recommends this procedure because it's safe, has relatively few possible side effects, and can be performed in just one short office visit. Patients reduce their risk of cervical cancer and improve the health of their cervix.
Manage your health by meeting with a gynecologist
Cervical cancer is one of the most concerning cancers among women, but early detection and treatment are possible. The professionals at Gynecology and Cosmetic Surgery Center of Atlanta are proud to provide comprehensive Pap smears and cancer screenings so women in the areas of Peachtree Corners and Atlanta can feel confident and informed about their health. Call our clinic in Norcross, GA today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gerry Sotomayor.