Stillwater News Press

Health & Environment

January 28, 2010

Annual check ups key to beating cervical cancer

STILLWATER, Okla. — Misty Vaverka of Stillwater was diagnosed with cervical cancer four years ago.

She had no symptoms or history of cancer, but does have the human papilloma virus.

A routine Pap smear test produced abnormal results.

After being diagnosed, she cried for days and was angry, she said. She didn’t tell anyone, including her mother, for two months.

Then, she said, something clicked, and she decided she needed to educate herself as much as possible about cervical cancer and HPV.

“A lot of girls don’t think it’s important. I had never heard of HPV, and I think a lot of women do not understand about the vaccination,” Vaverka said.

She ended up having a radical hysterectomy with no chemotherapy about three months after the birth of her second child.

Vaverka’s support system of friends, family and doctors helped her through this difficult time.

Those diagnosed with cervical cancer are not considered cancer-free until five years pass with no incident. Vaverka said she looks forward to being added to the “five-year board” at University of Oklahoma Medical Center in 2011.

“That’s my goal,” she said. “... There’s hope. I think a lot of people, when they hear the word cancer, think there’s nothing left, but if you look for information, there’s a lot of help out there.”

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month and making sure to get annual gynecological check-ups and becoming informed about the human papillomavirus are women’s best bets on staying healthy.

The human papillomavirus is a common sexually transmitted disease that has numerous different types. At least 50 percent of sexually active people get it at some point in their life, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

One of these types can cause cervical cancer, and almost all cervical cancers are caused by the human papillomavirus.

Stillwater gynecologist Dr. Yasuto Taguchi considers cervical cancer to be a big problem in the area due to the fact that Stillwater is a college town and has a large, young, sexually active population.

Since the virus typically has no symptoms, women need to make sure to get their annual Pap smear, Taguchi said. If a Pap smear comes back abnormal, more testing needs to be done to make sure cervical cancer does not develop.

Gardasil and Cervarix are the only vaccines currently offered for treatment of the virus.

While Taguchi said sexual behavior plays a factor, he recommends anyone who comes into his office to receive the vaccine.

Practicing safe sex by knowing your partner and using condoms is important, but they don’t prevent 100 percent against the virus, Oklahoma State University health educator Kacey Luker said.

An early diagnosis and treatment of cervical cancer is key to survival, Taguchi said. If the cancer is allowed to progress to a higher stage, it becomes more difficult to treat.

Whether they are sexually active or not, Pap smears are recommended for women 21 years or older.

The vaccination, first out in 2006, changed the way the medical field handles it, he said. It’s a preventative action against the virus as opposed to waiting to be diagnosed with the virus and then treating it.

“We try to get patients to get the vaccination at the beginning,” Taguchi said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Health & Environment
  • Live Well 04-20-14

    Happy Easter! Whether you celebrate this holiday or not, today is a day that symbolizes life.
    For some, this day is a celebration of life that comes through the resurrection of Jesus.
    For others, it is a day in which life is evidenced through the budding trees and flowers that promises the arrival of spring.

    April 19, 2014

  • Live Well 04-13-14

    The American way has come to include alcohol and drinking at many social events.

    April 12, 2014

  • Live Well 04-06-14

    April is the first month of spring. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and children are running around with spring fever.

    April 5, 2014

  • Live Well 03-30-14

    As March comes to an end, National Nutrition Month concludes, and with spring readily approaching,

    March 29, 2014

  • Live Well 03-16-14

    Do you, or someone you know, need to purchase assistive technology or medical equipment because of an injury or newly acquired medical condition?

    March 15, 2014

  • Live Well 03-02-14

    I was watching the finale of the Biggest Loser a few weeks ago — a show that I generally enjoy — and was astounded by the appearance of the winner.

    March 1, 2014

  • Live Well 02-23-14

    Will you wake up if your smoke alarm goes off during the night after you have removed your hearing aids?

    February 22, 2014

  • Live Well 02-16-14

    This time of the year, hearts are everywhere.

    February 15, 2014

  • LIve Well

    One of the favorite parts of my job is the work I get to do with schools in Payne County.

    February 8, 2014

  • Study: Blood type may influence heart disease risk

    People with blood type A, B, or AB had a higher risk for coronary heart disease when compared with those with blood type O, according to new research published in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, an American Heart Association journal.

    August 17, 2012

Buy & Share Photos
NewsPress e-Edition
NewsPress Specials
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
NDN Video
Jabari Parker's Top 5 Plays From Duke Career Kourtney Kardashian Is a Bikini Babe More Manpower Than Ever Expected At 4/20 Rally Debunk'd: Miley Cyrus AIDS, Cheeseburgers Cause Cancer, Military Warning Bill Previewing the NBA playoffs Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite My name is Cocaine Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Lohan Gets Candid About Her Sex List The 2014 New York Auto Show Meet Johnny Manziel's New Girlfriend Chelsea Clinton Announces Pregnancy Funny: Celebrating Easter with Martha Stewart and Friends Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Man hit with $525 federal fine after he doesn't pay for soda refill Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper New West, Texas Explosion Video Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday
Must Read