Breast & Cervical Cancer

Gilmer County Health Department in partnership with the West Virginia Breast & Cervical Cancer Screening Program offers cancer services.  Gilmer County Health Department accepts most major insurances.  No client will be denied service due to an inability to pay.  Uninsured and under-insured clients will be charged on a sliding fee scale based on income and family size.

Contact us at (304) 462-7351 or by e-mail to schedule your screening today.

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is a disease in which cells in the breast grow out of control.  There are different kinds of breast cancer.  The kind of breast cancer depends on which cells in the breast turn into cancer.

Breast cancer can begin in different parts of the breast.  A breast is made up of three main parts: lobules, ducts, and connective tissue.  The lobules are the glands that produce milk.  The ducts are tubes that carry milk to the nipple.  The connective tissue (which consists of fibrous and fatty tissue) surrounds and holds everything together.  Most breast cancers begin in the ducts or lobules.

Breast cancer can spread outside the breast through blood vessels and lymph vessels.  When breast cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it is said to have metastasized.

The most common kinds of breast cancer are—

  • Invasive ductal carcinoma:  The cancer cells grow outside the ducts into other parts of the breast tissue.  Invasive cancer cells can also spread, or metastasize, to other parts of the body.
  • Invasive lobular carcinoma:  Cancer cells spread from the lobules to the breast tissues that are close by.  These invasive cancer cells can also spread to other parts of the body.

Different people have different symptoms of breast cancer.  Some people do not have any signs or symptoms at all.

Some warning signs of breast cancer are—

  • New lump in the breast or underarm (armpit).
  • Thickening or swelling of part of the breast.
  • Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.
  • Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.
  • Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.
  • Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.
  • Pain in any area of the breast.

Keep in mind that these symptoms can happen with other conditions that are not cancer.

If you have any signs or symptoms that worry you, be sure to see your doctor right away.

Cervical Cancer

Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control.  Cancer is always named for the part of the body where it starts, even if it spreads to other body parts later.  When cancer starts in the cervix, it is called cervical cancer The cervix connects the vagina (birth canal) to the upper part of the uterus.  The uterus (or womb) is where a baby grows when a woman is pregnant.

All women are at risk for cervical cancer.  It occurs most often in women over age 30.  Long-lasting infection with certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV) is the main cause of cervical cancer.  HPV is a common virus that is passed from one person to another during sex.  At least half of sexually active people will have HPV at some point in their lives, but few women will get cervical cancer.

Cervical cancer is highly preventable in most Western countries because screening tests and a vaccine to prevent HPV infections are available.  When cervical cancer is found early, it is highly treatable and associated with long survival and good quality of life.

Since almost all cervical cancers are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), a common virus that can be passed from one person to another during sex.  There are many types of HPV.  Some HPV types can cause changes on a woman’s cervix that can lead to cervical cancer over time, while other types can cause genital or skin warts.

HPV is so common that most people get it at some time in their lives.  HPV usually causes no symptoms so you can’t tell that you have it. For most women, HPV will go away on its own; however, if it does not, there is a chance that over time it may cause cervical cancer.

Other things can increase your risk of cervical cancer—

  • Having HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) or another condition that makes it hard for your body to fight off health problems.
  • Smoking.
  • Using birth control pills for a long time (five or more years).
  • Having given birth to three or more children.
  • Having several sexual partners.

Early on, cervical cancer may not cause signs and symptoms.  Advanced cervical cancer may cause bleeding or discharge from the vagina that is not normal for you, such as bleeding after sex.  If you have any of these signs, see your doctor.  They may be caused by something other than cancer, but the only way to know is to see your doctor.

Use our Symptoms Diaries to track possible symptoms over a two-week timespan