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Heights OBGYN

Cancer Screening

Cancer Screening for Breast and Cervical Cancer

Cancer prevention begins with cancer screening and annual wellness examinations. Our San Antonio OBGYNs have specific tools to screen for breast and cervical cancer. We don’t have routine screening tools for the other types of gynecologic cancers—endometrial, ovarian, uterine, vulvar and vaginal. Without these tools, our physicians rely on yearly examinations to help them detect changes in patients’ bodies and symptoms that might be signs of cancer.

Women should also see our physicians any time throughout the year if they detect changes or symptoms that may indicate problems.

Mammograms are essential for cancer screening

Screening mammograms provide early detection for breast cancer, helping our physicians detect cancer in the early stages when it’s most treatable. There are 2D, or conventional, mammograms and 3D mammograms. Technicians perform both types of tests in the same way.

2D mammograms provide radiologists with two-dimensional film images, while digital 3D techniques store images of the breasts on the computer. Radiologists can get a more in-depth look at the breast tissue with digital images because they can manipulate and enlarge the images. This makes it easier to detect changes, particularly in women with dense breast tissue.

Women who have an average risk of developing breast cancer should begin having mammograms at age 40 and have the test every year. Women who have a higher risk should talk to our San Antonio OBGYNs about their screening options for both breast and cervical cancer.

Screening for cervical cancer

Cancer screening for cervical cancer has changed through the years. Now, screening options range from women having Pap smears only every three years, an HPV test only every five years, or co-testing for cervical cancer every five years, meaning the patient has both tests.

Researchers and physicians have made an important connection between the human papillomavirus and cervical cancer, particularly HPV types 16 and 18. Types 16 and 18 cause the majority of cervical cancer cases. Regular screening allows our physicians to detect HPV and changes in the cervical cells that could become cancer. Early detection and prevention help patients and physicians come up with an effective prevention and treatment plan.

Yearly examinations help detect other types of gynecologic cancers

Breast and cervical cancer aren’t the only cancers to watch out for. The only way to detect endometrial, uterine, vaginal, vulvar and ovarian cancer initially is to note changes that occur year after year and/or when symptoms occur. Annual wellness visits are critical for women’s health because they allow our physicians to note changes and discuss symptoms in-depth with patients. If our OBGYNs notice anything unusual, they can perform diagnostic tests to determine the cause of the symptoms.

Our San Antonio OBGYNs recommend regular cancer creening for breast and cervical cancer

Preventive healthcare is essential for our patients, and screening for breast and cervical cancer is part of that care. Contact us to schedule an appointment for screening tests and annual wellness exams.