January is Cervical Health Awareness Month – Cervical cancer is the second most diagnosed cancer in women in the US. We wanted to shed some light on the importance of annual PAP and HPV screenings, as well as some facts you may not know about Cervical Cancer.
Cervical Cancer Facts
• 12,000 Women will be diagnosed with Cervical Cancer in the US
each year and more than 4,000 of those will die
• It is one of the MOST PREVENTABLE types of cancer
• 70% of cervical cancers can be attributed to two types of the HPV virus, HPV-16 and HPV-18
• By the age of 50 80% of women have been infected with some type of HPV.
The majority of these women DO NOT develop cervical cancer
• 90% of HPV infections resolve on their own within 2 years
Symptoms of Cervical Cancer
Precancerous cervical cell changes and early cervical cancers usually are a-symptomatic. For this reason, it is important to see your physician for your annual PAP and HPV test. These tests can catch precancerous cell changes early and prevent the development of Cervical Cancer.
Possible symptoms of more advanced disease may include abnormal or irregular vaginal bleeding, pain during sex, or vaginal discharge. If you encounter any of these symptoms contact your physician as these could be signs of other health issues.
Detection and Diagnosis
Cervical cancer is detected by a PAP test showing abnormal cell changes, commonly called cervical dysplasia. Once the abnormal cells have been detected additional testing may be performed. These may include a Colposcopy, Cervical Biopsy, Colposcopic Biopsy, Cone Biopsy, or a LEEP procedure.
Learn more about these procedures and treatments from the