Kalispell,
11
January
2023
|
01:00 AM
America/Denver

Cervical Cancer: One of the most preventable and treatable cancers

And yet, the American Cancer Society estimated that around 4,280 women would die from cervical cancer in 2022. They also estimated that around 14,100 new cases of invasive cervical cancer would be diagnosed.

We asked APRN and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Kathleen Olson about the basics of cervical cancer and what every woman can do to prevent it.

 

What is cervical cancer?

“Cervical cancer consists of abnormal cells of the lining of the cervix (which is the lower part of the uterus,” Kathleen Olson explains. “Cervical cancer is typically not symptomatic, but bleeding after intercourse or bleeding between heavy periods are possible symptoms.”

While a risk in the United States, cervical cancer is also a risk worldwide. The World Health Organization estimates that 90% of cases and more than 90% of deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.

 

Who is at risk for cervical cancer?

Many women are affected by cervical cancer, but it rarely develops in those younger than 20.

“Cervical cancer is most frequently diagnosed in women between the ages of 35 and 44, with the average age at diagnosis being 50,” Olson says.

Infection by the human papillomavirus (HPV) is also an important risk factor to consider.

“This virus is transmitted through friction skin contact of the genital area. Exposure to HPV could occur if one is sexually active at a young age (especially if younger than 18), has many sexual partners, or has a partner with HPV or other sexual partners,” explains Olson.

 

Is cervical cancer treatable?

Yes!

“Cervical cancer can be found early, and sometimes even prevented, by having regular screening Pap tests,” Olson says. “If detected early, cervical cancer is one of the most successfully treatable cancers.”

This can be a huge relief to those undergoing risk assessment and diagnosis. Treatment methods include surgery, chemo, and combinations of radiation and chemo. These methods prove very effective at treating cervical cancer in early and advanced stages.

 

What can someone do to prevent cervical cancer?

Olson recommends two important steps: “Get the HPV vaccine (Gardasil) if you are eligible and get tested regularly.”

Women are advised to start Pap testing at 21 years old, and the HPV vaccine is usually recommended at 11 or 12 years old. However, the HPV vaccine has been approved for individuals from 9 years old to 45 years old.

“Another way to prevent cervical cancer is to reduce your risk of HPV by limiting your number of sexual partners, using a condom during intercourse, and avoiding smoking,” Olson explains.

To take the first step in preventing cervical cancer, call our staff at Logan Health Women’s Care to set up an appointment with one of our expert gynecologists.

Let’s prevent, treat, and beat cervical cancer together.

Next Steps:

To learn more about the women's health services offered at Logan Health, visit https://www.logan.org/health/services/womens-health