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stop cervical cancerIt's a grim statistic -- about 11,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year and more than 4,000 of them will die from it. But a few simple steps could save the lives of thousands of women and prevent many new cases from occurring.

Why is cervical cancer easy to beat? Because we have the tools to detect it earlier and a vaccine to stop one of the main causes of cervical cancer. That's why it's important for all women to know how to protect themselves and their children.

Cervical cancer is often caused by the human papillomavirus, commonly known as HPV. About 79 million Americans have HPV, but many of them don’t know they are infected. Early detection is important because cervical cancer develops slowly over time. Testing can uncover abnormal cell changes that occur in the cervix years before cervical cancer develops. The traditional method of early detection has been the Pap test, and all women should have regular Pap tests beginning at age 21.

Cancer of the cervix tends to occur during midlife; about half of women diagnosed with the disease are between 35 and 55 years of age. Approximately 20% of cases of cervical cancer are women older than 65 and about 40% of cervical cancer deaths occur in women age 65 and older. That's why continued Pap tests are recommended after menopause.

You should see your health provider for an annual well-woman visit that may include a Pap test, based on your age and risk status. Most health insurance plans must cover well-woman visits and cervical cancer screening, so most women can get these services at no out-of-pocket cost.

Preventing cervical cancer for the next generation starts with the HPV vaccine. It can stop infection from high-risk types of HPV that can lead to cervical cancer and low-risk types of HPV that cause genital warts.

Almost all women and men will have HPV at some point in their lives, and the vaccine is recommended for all boys and girls at age 11 or 12 to help prevent the spread of HPV. The vaccine is most effective when given before sexual activity begins, but women up to age 26 and men up to age 21 can still be vaccinated. With vaccine protection and regular screenings, we can beat cervical cancer and save more lives.

 

Northline Women's Health Center Locations:

15675 Northline Road

Southgate, MI 48195

(734) 282-3600
(734) 282-3603 - Fax

23050 West Road, Suite 210

Brownstown Twp., MI 48183

(734) 362-7000
(734) 362-7077 - Fax