In the past 20 years, gynecologic oncologists worldwide have made a profound impact on the health of young women, thanks to the HPV vaccine. And Lankenau Medical Center’s Dr. Charles Dunton has solutions for older women, too. “Mid-adults should receive screening with both cytology and HPV DNA testing at the recommended intervals,” he says.
The new tests are more specific and accurate than Pap smears, and allow for longer intervals between screenings. “They provide patients with high assurance that they’re free of disease,” says Dunton. “A DNA vaccine is also approved for young men to prevent genital warts.”
For those with cervical cancer, the delivery of chemotherapy into the abdomen and other advances have increased survival rates, and laparoscopy and robotics have reduced the side effects of surgery. As with any field of practice, an informed patient makes for the best treatment. “It’s important to know all of your family history to better assess your risk,” says Dunton.