The Importance of Yearly Check-Ups for Women

Amanda Huff

Most women dread the yearly trip to the gynecologist but one student at Ole Miss found out the importance of going to that appointment. Senior hospitality management major, Mary Lindley Mims, recently went though the scare of finding abnormal cells on her cervix.

“I thought I was 21-years-old with cervical cancer and I didn’t know why this happened or where it came from,” Mims said.

Lucky for Mims she tested negative for HPV, also known as the Human Papillomavirus. HPV is responsible for 70  percent of all cervical cancer cases and is found in 70 percent of all women. In addition to causing cervical cancer, it can also result in the appearance of genital warts and abnormal cells.

Local gynecologist Dr. Gregory Patton says many cases of HPV can go away on their own or can be prevented all together by using the vaccine, Gardasil.  Females young as 9 years of age can be given the vaccination.

Testing negative for HPV, Mims went through a procedure called scraping to remove the abnormal cells from her cervix. If left untreated the abnormal cells could have developed into cancer.

“I’m glad I went to the doctor and caught it early and realized it wasn’t cancer [rather than] waited three or four years to go back to the doctor and had cancer on my cervix and not been able to treat it,” Mims said.

Dr. Patton insists it is important for women 21-years or older to receive a yearly Pap smear to ensure a healthy reproductive system.

“The American College of OBGYN recommends that all women obtain their first pap smear or pelvic examination at the age of 21, unless they have become sexually active prior to that. The hope is that any young women would come to their gynecologist or family practitioner for their first pelvic examination before they became sexually active,” Patton said.

As for Mims, she says she hopes women will listen to her story and remember the importance of that yearly check up.

 “I am just a normal girl, and that twenty minute appointment could have possibly saved my life.”

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~ by amandakhuff on October 8, 2009.

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