What You Need to Know About Cervical Cancer

If you are a woman who has her cervix, you are at risk for cervical cancer. Women who have had a total hysterectomy, which includes removing the cervix, are not at risk for cervical cancer.

Cervical cancer, one of the leading causes of death worldwide, typically occurs in women between ages 20 and 50. Nearly 13,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer annually.

  • • New diagnoses of cervical cancer increased worldwide from 378,000 in 1980 to 528,000 in 2012.
  • • About 13,000 women in the U.S. will receive a new diagnosis of cervical cancer in 2018. 
  • • An estimated 4,200 women will die from cervical cancer in 2018. 
  • • About 50 percent of women diagnosed with cervical cancer are 35-54 years old.
  • • The five-year survival rate for women with stages 0 and 1A cervical cancer is about 93 percent.

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99 percentHPV causes approximately 99% of all cervical cancers. 

In women ages 30 and older, the HPV test can be used to screen for cervical cancer along with the Pap test. It also is used to provide more information when women ages 21 and older have unclear Pap test results.

If both test results are normal, your physician may say that you can wait up to five years for your next screening. Your physician can advise you on an appropriate screening schedule for the Pap and HPV tests, depending on your age and specific risk.

The HPV vaccine protects against the types of HPV that most often cause cervical, vaginal and vulvar cancers. It is recommended for preteens (both boys and girls) ages 11-12, but can be given as early as age 9. The two-dose HPV vaccine protects preteens before they are exposed to the virus. The Food and Drug Administration has also approved the vaccine for adults up to age 45. In adults, even women who have received the HPV vaccine need to have regular Pap tests to screen for cervical cancer.

93 percentNearly 93 percent of women with early stage cervical cancer survive 5 years or more. 

When detected early, the five-year survival rate for women with stages 0 and IA cervical cancer is about 93 percent. Most invasive cervical cancers occur in women who have never had a Pap test or who have not had one in the past five years.

No. 14

Cervical cancer is the 14th most common cancer among American women. 

It is one of the most preventable types of cancer because it develops over time, according to the American Cancer Society. Deaths from cervical cancer have been declining steadily over the past 40 years. This is largely due to the Pap test, one of the most reliable and effective screening tests available. The HPV test and HPV vaccine also help prevent cervical cancer.

But because it develops over time, it is also one of the most preventable types of cancer.

Women should start getting regular Pap tests at age 21 or when they become sexually active. Pap tests help detect precancerous changes on the cervix that can be simply and effectively treated to prevent cervical cancer.

During the Pap test, cells are collected from the cervix to be microscopically examined. If your Pap test results are normal, your physician may say that you don’t need another Pap test for three years.