The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a report indicating that eight million US women have not been tested for cervical cancer in the last 5 years. Screenings and vaccinations are a key component of cervical cancer and HPV prevention, and it is estimated that in 50% of cervical cancer cases the patient did not have regular screenings.
A Pap smear or human papillomavirus (HPV) test is the best way to prevent, or catch cancer early. Dr. David Fishman, women’s cancer specialist at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York says, “the Pap Smear, in my opinion, is the most powerful tool in the history of medicine to detect precancerous change.” He believes that, “no woman should ever die from cervical cancer.” However, it is estimated that 12,000 American women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer this year, and 4,000 women will die of the disease. However, doctors and scientists alike agree those numbers could be drastically reduced with regular screenings in all women.
Ways to be proactive about Cervical Cancer and HPV
Cervical Cancer and HPV screening is the best way to stay healthy and proactive. The American Cancer Society recommends women ages 21 to 65 get screened at least once every three years. Many women not getting screened are not insured; however there are options available to assist financially, and under the Affordable Care Act most cancer prevention screenings are free. HPV vaccines are also a way to stay preemptive about cervical cancer.
What is HPV and its correlation to cervical cancer?
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). It is estimated that 79 million Americans are infected with HPV. It is speculated that most sexually active men and women will have at least one subtype during their lifetime and there are over 40 different subtypes. HPV is spread through genital contact, and many people do not even know they are carriers. Also many people possess few to no symptoms. HPV can lead to cancers, especially cervical cancer in women. However the vaccine, since its release, is said to have lowered HPV rates in young women by 56%.