It is estimated that almost 13,000 woman will be diagnosed with cervical cancer in the U.S. in 2015 and that over 4,000 women will die from this disease. Even though those numbers may seem high, they are only a fraction of what they were in decades past. There are many weapons available to prevent and treat cervical cancer in the early stages to help lower these numbers. Here are a few things you should know about cervical cancer and how it can be prevented.
- Most women diagnosed with cervical cancer are under 50. Although cervical cancer can happen at any age, it is more common in women under 50.
- Cervical cancer begins slowly. The changes in the cervical cells to become cancerous happens slowly, usually over many years. If these changes are detected during routine examinations and tests like Pap smears, treatment can begin before these cells turn cancerous.
- There are risk factors for cervical cancer. Those who have had a high number of children, have a long-term history of using oral contraceptives, smoke, have HIV or have been exposed to DES are at higher risk for cervical cancer.
- Protection is key to prevention. Exposure to HPV is one of the leading precursors to cervical cancer. Using protective devices like condoms can protect women from exposure. There is also a HPV vaccine that is now available.
The most important fact to know about cervical cancer is that routine exams and screenings with an OB/GYN clinic are the best defense in prevention. Young women should be screened every 1-2 years and those over thirty with 3 or more consecutive clean Pap tests should be screened every three years.
Posted on behalf of
North Point OB/GYN Associates
1505 Northside Boulevard #3500
Cumming, GA 30041