Each year, an estimated 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and, of those, about one-third will die as a result of the cancer. Over the last 30 years, due to increased screening and awareness, the cervical cancer death rate has gone down by more than 50%. The American Social Health Association (ASHA) and the National Cervical Cancer Coalition have named January Cervical Health Awareness Month to encourage women across the country to get screened for cervical cancer and receive the human papilomavirus (HPV) vaccine, if they are eligible.
The best way to find cervical cancer early is to have regular screening with a Pap test (which may be combined with a test for human papilloma virus or HPV). As Pap testing became routine in this country during the past half century, finding pre-invasive lesions (pre-cancers) of the cervix became far more common than finding invasive cancer. Being alert to any signs and symptoms of cervical cancer can also help avoid unnecessary delays in diagnosis. Early detection greatly improves the chances of successful treatment and prevents any early cervical cell changes from becoming cancerous.
For more information, visit http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cervicalcancer/index