55KRC: UC experts discuss cervical cancer

A recent report found the proportion of women in England not being screened for cervical cancer has reached a 10-year high.

The University of Cincinnati's Teresa Meier, MD, and Sarah Sittenfeld, MD, both University of Cincinnati Cancer Center physicians and assistant professors of clinical radiation oncology at UC’s College of Medicine, joined 55KRC's Simply Medicine to discuss cervical cancer screenings and risk factors.

Meier and Sittenfeld said they are seeing similar trends in the U.S. as in England, with about 25% to 30% of American women not up to date on cervical cancer screenings as of the last available data in 2019. Delaying visits to the doctor throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has likely increased this percentage, the doctors said.

Human papillomavirus infection (HPV) is the most common cause of cervical cancer, the doctors explained, and the HPV vaccine and screening tests including Pap tests and HPV cotesting can help reduce the risk of cervical cancer or detect it in early stages.

Meier and Sittenfeld have unique expertise as the only doctors in the region who specialize in interstitial brachytherapy, a form of treatment for advanced cervical cancers where a radiation source is implanted via a needle during treatment sessions. This provides more targeted treatment that allows a higher radiation dose to directly reach the tumor and lessens the radiation exposure to nearby healthy tissue.

Listen to the Simply Medicine interview. (Note: Segment begins around 20:10 mark of podcast.)

Featured photo at top of cervical cancer metastasis courtesy of National Cancer Institute/Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University. Photo taken by Scott Wilkinson and Adam Marcus.

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