Thursday, September 11, 2008

Piedmont Physicians Raise Awareness of Cervical and Other Gynecological Cancers

Every six minutes, an American woman is diagnosed with gynecologic cancer, including cervical, endometrial, ovarian, peritoneal, tubal, vaginal and vulvar cancers. Each year more than 80,000 American women are diagnosed with a gynecologic cancer, defined as the uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells in the female reproductive organs.

September is Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month and according to the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation, early detection plays a critical role in the treatment process. In addition, the Foundation says that gynecologic cancers should only be treated by a cancer specialist, such as a gynecologic oncologist. Any woman is at risk for developing a gynecologic cancer. Although they are often discussed as a group, gynecologic cancers have a spectrum of different causes, prevention and detection methods, treatment, and likelihoods of a cure.

“Gynecologic cancer is a serious concern for women, but there are ways to prevent, detect and treat this cancer,” said Alfred Dwayne Jenkins, M.D., gynecologic oncologist at Piedmont Fayette Hospital. “If more women were screened regularly, many unnecessary deaths from cervical cancer could be avoided.”

Biomedical research has discovered that some genes, called oncogenes, promote the growth of cancer. These genetic mutations are acquired during life through smoking, aging or environmental influences, or are inherited from parents or grandparents. Many cancers of the cervix, vagina and vulva are caused by a virus that blocks normal gene function. Only a few of the specific genes leading to reproductive cancers have been identified. Knowing family history can increase the chance of early diagnosis and can help take action toward prevention.

Screening and self-examinations conducted regularly can result in the detection of certain types of gynecologic cancers in their earlier stages, when treatment is more likely to be successful and a complete cure is a possibility. Diet, exercise and lifestyle choices play a significant role in the prevention of cancer. Additionally, knowledge of family history can increase the chance of prevention or early diagnosis by determining if someone may have a gene which makes them susceptible to cancer.

Dr. Jenkins has been a part of the Piedmont Healthcare family since early last year, working with Piedmont Gynecologic Oncology located on the Piedmont Hospital campus. He also holds part-time office hours at Piedmont Fayette Hospital in Fayetteville. Dr. Jenkins is board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology and gynecologic oncology. He performed the first gynecologic robotics procedure in the state of Florida while serving as director of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center-Orlando. Dr. Jenkins is also interested in minimally invasive surgery and fertility-sparing treatment of malignancies.

Dr. Jenkins is accepting new patients and welcomes virtually all major insurance plans. His Fayetteville office is located at 1267 Highway 54 West, Suite 5200, Fayetteville, Ga. on the PFH campus. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 404-605-2100.
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