Cervical Health Important?
About 15,000 cases of cervical cancer will be diagnosed this year.
Most of these will be caught early and cured, although about a third
of these cases will still result in the patient's death. In certain
groups of women, including women past the childbearing years who do
not regularly see a gynecologist, cervical cancer is more commonly
found in advanced stages when cure is less likely.
Who Is At Risk?
Cervical cancer can affect any woman who is or has been sexually
active. Risk of cervical cancer is higher in women who have had multiple
sexual partners or in women whose partners have had multiple partners.
Older women and women without access to regular medical care are especially
vulnerable if they do not have regular Pap tests and gynecologic exams.
The Best Defense: Early Detection
Thanks to the Pap test, cervical cancer has become a relatively rare
cancer in the United States. A Pap test can detect changes in the cervix
that can be treated before they become cancer. The Pap test is also
very effective in detecting cervical cancer in its early stages before
it has spread to other parts of the body, when it is highly curable.
The American Cancer Society recommends that all women who have reached
the age of 18 or who have been sexually active have a Pap test and
pelvic exam every year. After three or more normal exams, the Pap test
may be performed less frequently at her doctor's discretion.
*American Cancer Society-Cancer Facts for Women