January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month – What We Need to Know

The American Cancer Society estimated in 2018 about 13,240 cases of invasive cervical cancer would be diagnosed. It is one of the most common forms of cancer death in women. Regular diagnostic testing has significantly reduced the death rate. It most often occurs in midlife for women between 35 and 44 years of age.  While it is rare in women younger than 20, 15% of the cases will be for women over 65.

 

  • Early detection is a key factor to successful treatment of cervical cancer. Annual Cancer Screening Tests (formally known as PAP tests) provide prevention and early detection.
  • Discuss having a HPV test done with your medical provider. A positive HPV test does not mean you will have or develop cancer.
  • HPV (human papilloma virus) can cause certain cancers. There are vaccines available to protect both women and men from the virus. Very few cases of HPV lead to cervical cancer.
  • Most cervical cancers can be stopped before they happen. Cervical cancer is rare in women who routinely get regular screening tests.
  • Follow your medical provider’s recommendation for the routine scheduling of your screening test.
  • Some women are at greater risk for getting cervical cancer if: (1) your immune system is compromised; (2) have HPV and it doesn’t go away; (3) have HIV or AIDS; and (4) if you smoke.

 

Take time to contact your health care provider for your routine exam.

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