Almost 13,000 cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed each year in the U.S.
About 4,100 women die from it annually.
What puts you at higher risk of cervical cancer?
- The cervix is part of the female reproductive anatomy, so only females are affected
- Infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV)
- Being between 20 and 50 years old
- Having chlamydia
- Having HIV or AIDS
- Having a close relative with cervical cancer
- Smoking any tobacco products
- Taking birth control pills for a long time
- Having 3 or more full-term pregnancies
How can you lower your risk for developing cervical cancer?
- Get the HPV vaccine
- Get at least 45 minutes of physical activity/exercise 5 days per week
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables
- Don’t smoke (or quit smoking)
- Use condoms to reduce risk of infections that increase the chances of developing cervical cancer
How can you help ensure early detection for more effective treatment?
- Pap tests detect cervical cancer and pre-cancer
- The American Cancer Society recommends women age 21 to 29 get a Pap test every 3 years
- The American Cancer Society recommends women age 30 to 65 get a Pap test and an HPV screening every 5 years, or just a Pap test every three years
- Women with a suppressed immune system should ask their doctor about more frequent screenings
- With some exceptions, women over 65 or who have had a total hysterectomy may not need screenings; they should talk to their doctor
Check out these useful resources about cervical cancer prevention: