In 2015, 4,175 women died from cervical cancer in the United States. Cervical cancer rates in Kentucky are among the highest in the United States. An increase in cervical cancer rates corresponds with a decrease in the number of women having routine pap tests. One-half of women diagnosed with invasive cervical carcinoma had never had a pap test, and another ten percent had gone without a pap in the five years prior to diagnosis. Cervical cancer is usually highly treatable if caught early.
What can you do to prevent invasive cervical cancer?
Have a pap test. A pap is a simple, quick, and painless test done at a doctor’s office. The American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology recommends all women ages 21 to 65 have a pap test done at least every three years, as long as there is no history of a previous abnormal pap. MCHC in Whitesburg has two OBGYNs and two midwives that offer cervical cancer screening pap tests. Talk with your provider about what screening recommendations are right for you.
Get the HPV vaccine. Human papilloma virus (HPV) is a highly common virus that can lead to the development of cervical cancer. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends vaccination against the virus in both females and males ages 11 to 26. It is estimated that 91 percent of cervical cancer could be prevented by the HPV vaccine.
Quit smoking. Smoking plays a role in the incidence of cervical cancer. Smoking makes it more challenging to kill the types of HPV that causes cervical cancer.
After the development of the pap test in the 1950’s the incidence of cervical cancer deaths decreased by 60 percent, however, women are still dying from cervical cancer largely due to non-compliance with recommended pap screening guidelines. Routine screening and early diagnosis allows for better outcomes and higher survival rates. A simple exam could save your life. Call 606-633-4871 to schedule your appointment today.