By Dr. Alisun Bonville

Most women know that visiting your doctor yearly is crucial for early detection of female-related illnesses.    The annual exam can help identify cancerous changes on the cervix, breast, uterus and ovaries, and typically includes a PAP smear, breast exam, and pelvic exam.  In addition, the doctor will also assess your heart, blood pressure, and general health.

The PAP smear, a sample of cells taken from a woman’s cervix, is the standard method for detecting changes to the cervix associated with cervical disease and cancer.  Often the PAP test is coupled with a DNA test for the Human Papilloma virus which is known to cause cervical cancer.  Both tests together are the best way to detect cervical disease and are 99% sure to detect changes in cervical health.

Human Papilloma virus, or HPV, is a sexually transmitted virus that can infect the cells of the cervix, leading to cellular changes that predispose a woman to cervical cancer.   There are different types of the virus, some more harmful than others.  In most women, a healthy and strong immune system can overcome the virus with no future cancer development.   90% of all HPV infections resolve on their own within 2 years, especially with naturopathic treatment.  Cancerous changes, or dysplasia, are more likely in women who cannot effectively fight a more harmful strain of the virus.  Immune support, a healthy diet and lifestyle, and healthy sexual habits help support cervical health.  Ask you naturopathic doctor for details.

Women over 21 or those who are sexually active should begin receiving annual exams, with a PAP done every 1-3 years depending on sexual history and health history.   Women over the age of 30 require both the PAP and DNA test for the best screening measures.

By detecting changes in your cervix caused by Human Papilloma virus, these tests are the key for early detection of cancers. A breast and pelvic exam complete the preventative screening for cancer.

Special: In order to better serve the greater Portland community, Dr. Bonville is offering $85 comprehensive annual exams to cash paying patients.  This includes the lab fee for the PAP smear and a full check up.  To take advantage of this offer, please contact the clinic at 503-445-8114.  Dr Bonville is covered by most insurance policies for annual exams and lab work.