HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - When was the last time you were checked for cervical cancer? Did you know that one woman dies from cervical cancer every two hours?
OB/GYN Dr. Jessica Shepherd and women’s health advocate Catt Sadler are teaming up with Hologic to bring awareness to the issue. WAFF 48′s Shelia O’Connor spoke with them earlier this week. “Cervical cancer is actually preventable and treatable.” Dr. Shepherd says. Sadler adds “It’s as simple as just going to your doctor every year and getting your annual exam, then discussing and prioritizing.”
“A lot of us are busy, of course and we tend to forget to make this appointment, so a lot it is prioritizing and putting it on the calendar." Sadler says she associates the test with an important personal day so she remembers. "I go every year in August, because that’s my birthday month and I know I won’t forget.”
Dr. Shepherd says it’s all about having information and allowing that to empower you. “When women go into the doctor’s office, a lot of times they feel intimidated.” Dr. Shepherd says you’ve got to have a plan and be ready to overcome that. “I actually tell women - ‘Write down the questions that you have. Write down the concerns that you have. Make sure they’re all being answered appropriately.’ Make sure that the dialogue you have with your doctor is free flowing and something that they feel comfortable with.” If you don’t feel like your doctor is communicating effectively, Dr. Shepherd says don’t be afraid to see a different one for a second opinion.
For most women, screening for cervical cancer should begin at the age of 21 and continue through the age of 65, but be sure to consult with your doctor for a plan tailored to your body and your needs.