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Volume 71, Issue 80, Wednesday, February 1, 2006

News

Knowledge the cure in cervical cancer lecture

Miller answers questions about prevention 

COUGAR NEWS STAFF

On Tuesday, the Women's Resource Center hosted Cervical Cancer: The Silent Killer, a roundtable discussion about how women can keep from contracting the disease.

Virginia Miller, director of the Women's Clinic at the UH Health Center, was on hand to answer students' questions about cervical cancer and other women's health issues.

Miller said some human papillomaviruses are the direct cause of cervical cancer in women. There are more than 100 types of HPV and about 30 are transmitted through sexual contact.

"The only way to know what kind of HPV you have is to do a ThinPrep," Miller said. "We can do a ThinPrep to decide if it is a high-level risk."

A ThinPrep exam is similar to a traditional Pap smear and is used in screening women for cervical cancer.

Miller said scientists are working on a vaccine for HPV. The vaccine is expected to be administered to pre-teen females in order to prevent the spread of the virus. However, Miller said she is unsure about the social implications of the vaccine.

"It's interesting how different cultures believe different techniques are important," Miller said.

Miller said all women should have a women's health exam at least once a year. 

"When you go in to have a well woman's exam, a Pap smear, you're getting more than just a Pap smear because (they) do a pretty complete history," Miller said.

Miller also told students to avoid unprotected sex because it can lead to serious health problems. 

"Gonorrhea and chlamydia are out there, and that's the biggest cause of infertility right now in women. If it's not tested and treated, it can cause a lot of trouble," Miller said.

Miller said it is important for a student to feel comfortable with her doctor.

"The first time you go (to a gynecologist), it's an interview. If you feel uncomfortable with the office staff, with the OB physician, I don't care if they're male or female, get out of there," Miller said. "You have got to find someone who will talk to you."

Miller encouraged students to ask questions about their health.

"(The discussion) helped me know what to do about my hygiene and about how HPV is really transmitted," business administration freshman Diana Estupinan said. "Now I know about how cervical cancer really develops. I know it doesn't just happen for no reason."

The WRC will host several more discussions and lectures during February. Male and female students, faculty and staff may attend the events.

For more information about the WRC, visit www.uh.edu/wrc.
 

Send comments to dcnews@mail.uh.edu

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