January 17, 2012 (Atlanta) —January’s Cervical Cancer Awareness Month places a spotlight on the need for early detection and prevention of the disease that takes 4,000 lives a year in the United States.
Dr. Cheryl Jones of Georgia Cancer Specialists, a Top 10 private cancer practice in the U.S. and a leader in advanced cancer treatment and research, urges women and parents to follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in order to combat the devastating disease.
“We know that the HPV virus is the main cause of cervical cancer in women,” Dr. Jones says. “Two cervical cancer vaccines have Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in the U.S. — Gardasil and Cervarix. Both vaccines can prevent most cases of cervical cancer if given before a girl or woman is exposed to the virus.”
“The CDC recommends that all 11 or 12 year old girls get the 3 doses (shots) of either brand of HPV vaccine to protect against cervical cancer. In order to be effective, the vaccine must be given long before a person begins any sexual activity,” she says. In addition, women should see their health care provider for regular pelvic exams and Pap tests to detect cervical cancer in the earliest stages, and they should not smoke, as smoking doubles the risk of cervical cancer.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends catch-up immunization for girls and women ages 13 to 26 who haven’t received the vaccine or who haven’t completed the full vaccine series. The cervical cancer vaccine isn’t recommended, however, for women older than age 26.
Dr. Jones serves as the GCS site principal investigator in Macon and is an active participant in the GCS Research and Therapeutics Committee. She has served as the American College of Surgeons’ Cancer Liaison Physician and as Chief of Staff for the Coliseum Medical Center.
Dr. Jones is board certified in medical oncology, internal medicine, and hospice and palliative medicine. She completed her medical degree, her residency, and a fellowship at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, VA. Her special interests include breast and gynecologic malignancies, cancer prevention and rehabilitation, quality of life issues, clinical research, and women’s health issues.
Georgia Cancer Specialists is a Top 10 private cancer practice in the U.S. and a leader in advanced cancer treatment and research. The practice supports more than 200,000 patient visits each year. GCS offers community-based medical oncology and hematology services and is the first private oncology practice to also provide a full range of support services for patients in Georgia, including wellness counseling and home health coordination. The GCS research department, whose focus is bringing targeted cancer therapy to communities, is the first in Georgia to offer Phase I clinical trials, the most novel cancer therapies available. GCS has 27 offices, 44 physicians, and more than 500 support staff members located in Metro Atlanta, and North and Central Georgia. Georgia Cancer Specialists can be found on the web at www.gacancer.com GCS is The Cancer Answer.