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(via Blanca Duncan, MD)

  1. via flickr
    via flickr

    More than 12,000 new cases of cervical cancer will be diagnosed this year and about 4000 will die as a result.

  2. Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer world-wide.
  3. Cervical cancer is highly preventable. In the United States the death rate attributed to cervical cancer is declining secondary to wide spread use of preventive strategies.
  4. Cervical cancer is typically a slowly developing cancer. There are tests available that diagnose precancerous changes and those at risk of developing cervical cancer. These tests include the cervical pap smear and human papilloma virus.
  5. Infection with Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is closely linked to the development of cervical cancer.
  6. There is a vaccine that decreases your risk of infection with Human Papilloma Virus.
  7. There are lifestyle changes you can make to decrease your risk of developing cervical cancer:
    1. Limit number of sexual partners
    2. Practice safe sex
    3. Exercise regularly
    4. Eat a healthy diet
    5. Don’t smoke
  8. Other factors associated with increased risk of developing cervical cancer include:
    1. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection
    2. Weakened immune system
    3. Exposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES) during your mother’s pregnancy
  9. Screening for cervical cancer should begin at age 21. Your provider will help you determine types of tests and interval of testing that is appropriate for you.
  10. In summary:
    1. Minimize risk factors for developing cervical cancer.
    2. Screening for cancer of the cervix is important.
    3. Talk to your health care provider about screening for cervical cancer.

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