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Fall 2007 Newsletter

Student Health Services Health News- Fall 2007

An Ounce Of Prevention Is Worth A Pound Of Cure

One recent hot topic of discussion in the world of preventive medicine is the new vaccine against cervical cancer in women.  In 2006, the vaccine GARDASIL was licensed for use among females aged 9-26 for prevention of cervical cancer.  Gardasil vaccinates against the 4 types of HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) most commonly causing cervical cancer and genital warts.

Vaccination is not a substitute for routine cervical cancer screening because not all HPV types that cause cervical cancer are included in the vaccine. Current guidelines state that all women should have a Pap test for cervical cancer screening within 3 years of beginning sexual activity or by age 21 years, whichever occurs first.  Women aged 30 years with three normal consecutive Pap tests should be screened every 2-3 years.

[**Please note that the above information was current in 2007. However, the current guidelines state that Pap tests should: begin at age 21 regardless of sexual history; be done every 3 years for women 21-29 years old; & be done every 5 years for women 30 years old and older**]

Other Recommended Screenings and Vaccinations for adults:

  • Mammogram:  begin at age 40 for most women and repeat annually
  • Colonoscopy:  begin at age 50 for men & women and repeat at 5-10 year intervals
  • Cholesterol screening:  begin at age 35 for men and 45 for women
  • Bone density testing:  begin at age 65 for women
  • Influenza or “Flu” vaccine:  once a year usually October through March
  • Tetanus vaccine:  once every 10 years; can be given as “Tdap” to include pertussis and diphtheria
  • Pneumonia vaccine:  recommended for those aged 65 or older and those younger with chronic illnesses

**Please be aware that the above are general recommendations and may vary from your doctor’s recommendations due to your personal and family history.  You should also talk to your physician about other screening tests or vaccines which may be appropriate for you.**