January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, which means now is the perfect time to remind the women in your life to get their annual checkup. Something incredible about this cancer is that is it one of the few that can be entirely eliminated.
That’s possible through either the HPV, or human papillomavirus, vaccination, or through screening with pap smears and HPV testing.
“The HPV vaccine is eligible for girls and boys, starting as early as the age of nine years old, up until the age of 26,” says Dr. Allison Staley from Rocky Mountain Gynecologic Oncology.
For some women, the vaccine came out too late. Dr. Staley says you can still receive the vaccine up to age 45.
“Especially if you have any risk of any new exposures to HPV, or any new sexual partners potentially.”
Dr. Staley says maintaining testing with your women’s health provider in order identify any precancerous cells is also incredibly important.
Women who do have cervical cancer are treated with a combination of chemotherapy and radiation.
“A very small minority or population really can be best treated or potentially cured with surgery. But those are going to be women who have very early stages of their cancer,” says Dr. Staley.
Since this is a cancer that can be prevented, Dr. Staley urges families to get their young kids vaccinated.
“The HPV vaccine is not a mandatory series for children’s vaccines for school. It’s an opt-in vaccine you have to request. So if your pediatric provider is not talking with you about that, then you need to ask about it.”
Patients Hospitalized For Something Else Then Find Out They Have COVID
If you enter a hospital for any reason chances are now you will be tested for COVID-19. People coming in for unrelated illnesses or problems are testing positive. Centura Health doctor and Vice President of Research Michael Roshon says that incudes those who have been vaccinated.
“That doesn’t mean that the vaccine is not working right. The vaccine is working to prevent severe disease. It’s just that omicron duplicates so quickly and evades those antibodies.”
On Wednesday, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said there are about 1,577 patients who tested positive for COVID. However, about 35% of those patients went to the hospital for a different reason, not COVID.
State figures show normally 80-90% of those in the hospital with COVID-19 were brought there for that reason. Now that figure is down to 65% with more patients testing positive once already there.
For UCHealth those figures are even more pronounced. Among 350 patients positive for COVID, two thirds were admitted for other medical reasons.
The omicron variant of COVID is so contagious, the spread has been wild, but cases not as severe for those who have received vaccinations. The worst may be about to come.
Dr. Rachel Herlihy, the state epidemiologist told a news conference, “It does look like the time for peak number of hospitalizations could be in the next week or so give or take some days of course.”
There is a bit of good news, intensive care bed capacity is now better. Centura Health says it has have room overall.
Roshon added, “We’ve seen a significant number of increase in cases but we still have capacity at most of our hospitals throughout Colorado.”
Meantime the state is spending millions of dollars on ads to try to keep people out of the hospitals by urging them to get vaccinated.