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Prevention is the Cure: The Impact of Henrietta Lacks & Learning to Protect Your Cervical Health

Dermatology and cervical cancer:

It is common knowledge that dermatologists treat skin cancer. It is not so common knowledge that dermatology began as the study of venereology- the study of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). A normal dermatology visit may include diagnosing and managing eczema, skin cancer, and genital warts, a type of STD. One STD, in particular, genital warts, can be identified through a skin examination. Genital warts are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), a type of virus with strains known to cause cervical cancer.  A common complaint is that of a smooth, velvety, skin-colored bump near the groin.  If a patient is diagnosed with genital warts, a biopsy can help to identify the specific strain. If the patient is a man, a discussion of notifying his partner(s) is initiated.  If the patient is a woman, we discuss the importance of following up with their gynecologist to have a PAP smear performed.  If a woman has HPV warts that are external and visible, there should always be a concern HPV lesions may be internal, particularly on the cervix, which in time can lead to cervical cancer. In essence, dermatologists can help identify and treat early external lesions that have the potential to lead to cervical cancer in the future.

Knowing your body is important.  Understanding what is normal in order to know what is abnormal for you is a key milestone to diagnosing any condition. This inherent questioning is what drives individuals to seek help from medical doctors who will continue to investigate the changes. Dr. Nikki Hill is a Board-certified Dermatologist who is trained to identify and treat STDs. She is skilled in diagnosing and managing external genital warts and advising through various treatment options.  Dr. Hill believes a comprehensive approach is optimum for all patient care and if there is a gynecologist, otolaryngologist, proctologist, or other specialists you would like Dr. Hill to collaborate with, she would gladly welcome the expansion of your treatment team.

This week Dr. Jackie Walters of Married to Medicine, Dr. Jessica Shepherd of HerViewpoint, The White Dress Project, is hosting an event where they will be discussing the importance of women’s health and cervical health after a viewing of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.  If you or any loved ones are interested in attending this event, please register at the link,