harbin clinic women's center rome ga cervical cancer awareness

Photos Cameron Flaisch - Back row (left to right): Dr. Marc Dean, Dr. Raymond Jarvis - Front row (left to right): Dr. Diana Vallecilla, Dr. Barry Brass, Dr. Margaret Marion

Rome, Georgia is well-known as a medical hub, a community where people can be confident that their health needs will be met with a high level of expertise. Harbin Clinic Women’s Center remains at the forefront of providing the women of Northwest Georgia with the best possible care, from their first gynecological visit, through their child-bearing years, to menopause and post-menopause. 

Dr. Raymond Jarvis and Dr. Marc Dean, both physicians of obstetrics-gynecology at Harbin Clinic’s Women’s Center in Rome, work with their fellow physicians and other medical professionals to uphold Harbin Clinic’s long-standing tradition of excellence and to prove their motto right: “We care completely.”

It’s a team, it’s a family

For this ob-gyn team, coming to work every day is all about the relationships. Dr. Dean says, “We work together, we struggle together, sometimes we cry together. That’s what the partners are building here; it’s a team and a family.”

In discussing what he likes about his job, Dr. Jarvis says, “Ob-gyn is a relatively happy specialty. We can become a real integral part of a woman’s life at some of her most important moments. And I like the variety of the work here, too: the surgical component, the office component.” For these doctors, it comes down to the friendships built over the years. 

Dr. Jarvis adds, “Over the last twenty-three years I’ve formed some really wonderful relationships with patients. That’s something I truly enjoy, getting to know people beyond just the medical perspective. I like learning who they are, who their families are. I get to see a lot of their families grow up.” When asked if he has ever delivered the babies of the babies he’s delivered, he says, “Yes! That happened for the first time just two years ago! It was a really special and meaningful delivery.”

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And, of course, some of those times are not so happy, and that’s when the professionals at Harbin Clinic Women’s Center are more important than ever. Serving in women’s healthcare allows the physicians and staff to share in both the joys and sorrows of their patients’ lives. 

Speaking to this emotional aspect of their work, Dr. Dean says, “We have the highs that are really high, but sometimes there are low times, too; that’s when we really get to minister to people, walking with them through a tough journey, whether that’s a cancer diagnosis, a difficult pregnancy, or the loss of a pregnancy.”  

Prevention and treatment 

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. Of course, Harbin Clinic Women’s Center does not wait until January to do its part in battling this disease. They work with their patients all year long to help educate them about cervical cancer and a host of other health issues. 

Dr. Dean points out that he and his fellow medical professionals would far rather prevent disease than treat it. He says, “We deal with a lot of disorders of varying severity, but in the long run, if we don’t have to operate, that’s better. If we can treat something with diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes then that’s what we want to do.”  

As for cervical cancer, Dr. Dean points out that it is one of those cancers which is preventable. “The number one risk factor,” he says, “is HPV, the human papilloma virus. There are many HPV types, and there are vaccines that are very effective against high-risk HPV types.” As he explains, the usual form of cervical cancer takes about ten to twelve years to develop, so that is why the doctors at the Women’s Center want to see their patients on a yearly basis. “That way,” Dr. Dean says, “we can pick things up at an early stage before they turn into a problem.” 

“With cervical cancer, there’s a progression of the disease,” Dr. Jarvis says. “It starts as mild and progresses to moderate, to pre-cancerous, to cancer. It takes a long time to do that, so if we can intervene at some point, we can often prevent it from becoming serious.” That’s why these doctors stress the need for regular screenings and other preventive measures such as vaccinations. For these physicians, prevention is the key followed by recognizing and addressing issues as they arise. 

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What to expect 

Sometimes patients are apprehensive about visiting a doctor’s office, so the staff at Harbin Clinic Women’s Center do everything they can to put them at their ease. Part of that is letting women know what they can expect when they come. Dr. Jarvis explains that a standard visit will include such things as checking blood pressure, perhaps a urinalysis or bloodwork (depending on symptoms), and there may be a breast exam. 

A gynecological exam might include a pap smear (for screening cervical cells) and/or a pelvic exam. Dr. Jarvis says, “I think it’s important that we distinguish between the pap smear and the pelvic exam, since some patients are confused about the difference. The pelvic exam is used for evaluation of the pelvic structures, especially the ovaries; while the pap smear is specific to the cervix.”  

Dr. Dean emphasizes that at the annual exam it’s important to glean as much information about the patient’s history as possible. The doctors want to know what’s been going on with the patient since her last visit. He says, “We just ask them to tell us what’s been going on with them.” This speaks to the more personal, human, part of the patient’s relationship with their doctor. It’s all part of Harbin Clinic’s commitment to treating the whole person, a true legacy of caring completely.  

Patients can schedule appointments with the providers at Harbin Clinic Women’s Center in both Rome and Cartersville. For more information visit harbinclinic.com/services/womens-health