(via Blanca Duncan, MD)
More than 12,000 new cases of cervical cancer will be diagnosed this year and about 4000 will die as a result.
Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer world-wide.
- Cervical cancer is highly preventable. In the United States the death rate attributed to cervical cancer is declining secondary to wide spread use of preventive strategies.
- Cervical cancer is typically a slowly developing cancer. There are tests available that diagnose precancerous changes and those at risk of developing cervical cancer. These tests include the cervical pap smear and human papilloma virus.
- Infection with Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is closely linked to the development of cervical cancer.
- There is a vaccine that decreases your risk of infection with Human Papilloma Virus.
- There are lifestyle changes you can make to decrease your risk of developing cervical cancer:
- Limit number of sexual partners
- Practice safe sex
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a healthy diet
- Don’t smoke
- Other factors associated with increased risk of developing cervical cancer include:
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection
- Weakened immune system
- Exposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES) during your mother's pregnancy
- Screening for cervical cancer should begin at age 21. Your provider will help you determine types of tests and interval of testing that is appropriate for you.
- In summary:
- Minimize risk factors for developing cervical cancer.
- Screening for cancer of the cervix is important.
- Talk to your health care provider about screening for cervical cancer.