OPELIKA, Ala. (WRBL) – As East Alabama comes together to observe Gynecologic Oncology Awareness Month, our community is fortunate to have Dr. Kerri Bevis, a renowned gynecological oncologist, serving as a beacon of support for our mothers, daughters, and sisters.
Dr. Bevis, a gynecologic oncologist from Birmingham, Ala., earned her medical degree and completed her fellowship at UAB. She’s passionate about comprehensive care for women with cancer, received the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award in 2019, and aims to improve cancer care accessibility in Lee County and beyond.
In an exclusive interview with WRBL, Dr. Bevis passionately calls for community action to combat the devastating and potentially fatal HPV-related cancers, particularly cervical cancer.
“Cervical cancer and many other HPV-related cancers, a lot of head and neck cancers, are related to HPV infection, as well as a lot of rectal and anal cancers. HPV infection can be prevented with an effective vaccination strategy that starts with us,” shared Dr. Bevis.
A Mission of Care and Compassion
When Dr. Kerri Bevis, a gynecologic oncologist, joined Spencer Cancer Center in Opelika, her objective was clear. She stated, “My mission is to make sure the women in this area have access to just as high a level of care for GYN cancers as they can find anywhere.”
Auburn’s Karen Carter, diagnosed in 2019, began seeing Dr. Bevis at UAB. When her cancer returned, she no longer had to travel to UAB for specialized care. Carter praised Dr. Bevis for her exceptional care and understanding, even calling her at night to discuss critical test results.
Dr. Bevis’ passion for complex surgery, comprehensive care, and long-term patient support fits perfectly with the female patients she cares for. She emphasized the importance of maintaining long-term relationships with her patients, providing care through both triumphs and challenges.
Educating and Preventing
Dr. Bevis and her team work tirelessly not only to treat those affected by OBGYN cancers but also to educate the community on risk factors, prevention strategies such as vaccinations, and the importance of regular screenings.
Dr. Bevis highlighted the urgent need for awareness and prevention, especially in Chambers County, where healthcare teams are confronting alarming cervical cancer rates.
“Cervical cancer and many other HPV-related cancers can absolutely be prevented with an effective vaccination strategy that starts with us,” said Dr. Bevis.
The best time to get vaccinated against the human papillomavirus is before sexual activity begins. Boys and girls starting at age 9 can get vaccinated, and parents are urged to speak with their pediatrician about this crucial step in prevention.
Dr. Bevis is pleases to see other healthcare stakeholders join the commitment to providing care in east Alabama’s rural communities. The Auburn University Rural Health Initiative partners with rural Alabama communities to enhance access to high-quality healthcare. They employ the OnMed® Telehealth Station alongside hands-on care from university faculty and students.
The initiative, based in LaFayette, Alabama, collaborates with local leaders and the Chambers County Commission to establish the Chambers County Community Health and Wellness Center. This center combines the OnMed® telehealth station with hands-on care from university faculty and students, covering various healthcare disciplines, including nursing, pharmacy, speech, and more.
Early Detection Saves Lives
Ladies, make sure you see your OB/GYN and know your family’s history, as this is critical for ovarian cancer detection. Dr. Bevis emphasized ovarian cancer is often referred to as a “silent killer” because it’s hard to screen for. Routine screenings, such as Pap smears and pelvic exams, can significantly improve the chances of early diagnosis and successful treatment.