Approximately 11,000 new cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed every year in the United States. Fortunately, that number has been steadily declining over the years. Between the years of 1955-1992, cervical cancer mortality rates dropped 74% due to increased screenings and early prevention with the Pap test. Although cervical cancer is the most preventable form of cancer, it kills approximately 4,000 women in the United States annually. The Pap test is a screening procedure that can detect changes in the cervix, before cancer develops. Cervical cancer is more curable the earlier it is found.
A proven method of preventing cervical cancer is through early detection with pap tests and HPV tests. A Pap test is a technique used to gather cells from the cervix to check for abnormal cells (cancer and pre-cancerous cells). Getting regular Pap tests is essential in preventing cervical cancer. The American Cancer Society suggests getting a Pap tests every three years. Women who forego regular pap tests are at the highest risks of developing cervical cancer. In fact, most women who get cervical cancer have not been screened in at least five years. Pre-cancer prevention can also be done through avoiding exposure to HPV. HPV vaccines can help protect against two types of HPV that cause about 75% of cervical cancer, and can be administered to both men and women.
Other prevention tips include:
- Quit smoking
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Eat nutritious foods
- Know your family history. Has anyone in your family had cervical cancer?
Paris Regional Medical Center offers both Pap testing and HPV testing for women. Talk to your doctor today if you have questions or concerns about cervical cancer.