Cervical Cancer Month


January is the National Cervical Cancer Screening Month.  Every year, almost 10,000 women in the United States get cervical cancer and about 3,500 women die from it. In developing countries, cervical cancer is a most important women’s health issue, killing some 200,000 women each year.  Cervical cancer begins in the cervix, the part of the uterus or womb that opens to the vagina. Before doctors started using the Pap test in the 1950s, cervical cancer was the leading cause of death from cancer in women. In the United States, the Pap test saves the lives of 70% of the women who might have died from cervical cancer without the test. The single most important thing a women can do is participate in a regular screening program.

The new cervical cancer screening guidelines are as follows:

  • Cervical cancer screening should begin      approximately three years after a woman begins having sexual intercourse, but no later than at 21 years old.
  • Experts recommend waiting approximately three years following the initiation of sexual activity because transient HPV infections and cervical cell changes that are not significant are common      and it takes years for a significant abnormality or cancer to develop. Cervical cancer is extremely rare in women under the age of 25.
  • Women should have a Pap test at least once every three years.
  • Women 65 to 70 years of age who have had at least three normal Pap tests and no abnormal Pap tests in the last 10 years may decide, upon consultation with their healthcare provider, to stop cervical cancer screening.
  • Women who have had a total hysterectomy (removal of the uterus and cervix) do not need to undergo cervical cancer screening, unless the surgery was done as a treatment for cervical precancer or cancer.
  • Women should seek expert medical advice about when they should begin screening, how often they should be screened, and when they can discontinue cervical screenings, especially if they are at higher than      average risk of cervical cancer due to factors such as HIV infection.

For more information about HPV, please go to http://newscenter.cancer.gov/BenchMarks/archives/2002_04/related_article.html.

For further information about cervical cancer and cervical cancer screening, please call the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Information Service toll-free at 1-800-4 CANCER.

Need CPR Certification for your business in San Jose?  Call us at 1-888-313-2444

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