Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Importance of Adolescent Gynecology

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month, so we'd like to take a few moments to shine a light on the importance of adolescent gynecology and early cervical screenings. Although more women than ever are being educated on the importance of cervical screenings, it's important to ensure that young people and their parents remain vigilant. 

Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer was once the leading cause of female deaths in the United States. A lack of preventative measures and the limited chemotherapeutic options of past years combined to forge a deadly disease. Today, numerous strides in radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and other medical interventions have prolonged the life expectancy of women in almost all stages of cervical cancer, but it isn't always enough.

Unfortunately, the number of preventative options is still limited. The Human Papilloma Virus inoculation is known to prevent cervical cancers associated with HPV, but other causative factors remain. The single most important step in the prevention of cervical cancer is early screening, as pap smears and yearly gynecological visits drastically increase the chances of early detection and survival. Parents who highlight the importance of adolescent gynecology and reproductive education ensure that successive generations are protected.

Education and the Gynecological Setting

It is unfortunate that some American women do not visit an OBGYN until they are 18 years of age or older. In fact, many women make it a point to avoid any doctor's visit unless they are sick. With the right parental guidance, young adults can better understand the importance of these visits and be conscious of their own responsibilities for their physical health. 

Mothers are the classic choice for OBGYN introduction, but circumstances don't always allow for this. Regardless, any parent that cares about their daughter's health should educate themselves on the subject so that they can explain things before they schedule the first appointment.

Parents should have a clear understanding of:
  • What to expect at the first appointment.
  • What a pap smear is.
  • What a breast exam is.
  • Their child's immunizations.
  • Each parent's family history of cervical disease.

This information should be made available to your child so that she can feel more comfortable speaking with her gynecologist. Knowledge empowers young girls and women and allows them to take more control over their own bodies and health.