Cervical cancer occurs when abnormal cells on the cervix grow out of control. The cervix is the lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina. Cervical cancer can often be successfully treated when it’s found early. It is usually found at a very early stage through a screening test, such as the Pap test
Current projections are that approximately 13,800 new cases of cervical cancer will be diagnosed this year, resulting in about 4,200 deaths. This form of cancer is in the woman’s reproductive system and directly involves the cervix, which connects the vaginal canal and uterus. This highly preventable disease is most frequently diagnosed in women ages 35-44 and is treatable when detected early.
HPV infection can lead to cervical cancer
All women are at risk for Cervical Cancer
- All women are at risk for cervical cancer
- Women who have been exposed to or have Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
- Women over the age of 30
- Having HIV or being immunocompromised
- Having multiple sexual partners or initiating sex at a young age
- Being on birth control pills for 5 years or more
- Poor diet
- Exposure to Diethylstilbestrol (a drug given in the 1950’s to prevent miscarriages)
Symptoms & Treatment
Early stages of cervical cancer have no signs or symptoms. During the later stages, women experience abnormal bleeding, discharge from the vagina, pelvic pain, and pain during intercourse.
Treatment for cervical cancer includes surgery, radiation (using high energy rays to kill the cancer) or chemotherapy (special drugs to shrink or kill the cancer) or a combination any of the three.
How to Prevent Cervical Cancer
- Screening through regular Pap Smears starting at age 21, or onset of sexual activity
- HPV vaccine, which prevents about 90% of cervical cancers
- Abstain from sexual intercourse
- Use protection when having sexual intercourse (male condom, female condom, dental dam)
- Do not smoke
Cervical Cancer Fact Sheet
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