A simple test for the early detection of cervical cancer

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Written and sponsored by the Georgia Cancer Center

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With January just beginning, it is time to get in touch with the women in our lives to discuss a simple test that could save their lives.

“In my work as a gynecological oncologist at the Georgia Cancer Center, I saw the importance of a Pap smear in the early detection of cervical cancer,” said Dr. Sharad Ghamande, associate director of clinical research at Augusta University’s Georgia Cancer Center. Study after study on the survival of cancer patients: the earlier you get cancer, the higher your survival rate. That’s why women should get their Pap smear every three years. Most of the cervical cancer is caused by high risk persistent human papillomavirus (HPV). Therefore, after age 30, an alternative option is to have a Pap smear with HPV testing every 5 years.

It’s like the analogy to an iceberg. Above the surface of the water, only part of the iceberg representing the 14,000 women who develop cervical cancer each year in the United States can be seen. But underwater, invisible, there are another 50,000 women one cell away from developing cervical cancer. And among them are 3 million women with real precancerous cells that require therapy.

“Another big reason for getting regular Pap tests is that it takes several years for cervical cancer to develop,” said Ghamande. “If precancerous changes are found through regular preventive examinations, these can be treated easily. The majority of women diagnosed with cervical cancer have not had a Pap smear in five years. “

Generally, cervical cancer occurs mid-life, with most cases found in women under the age of 50. Cervical cancer is most common among Hispanic women. In fact, the rate is more than double that of non-Hispanic white women. African American women are about 50% more likely to develop this cancer than non-Hispanic white women. Almost 20% of women with cervical cancer are diagnosed over the age of 65. It is therefore important that older women continue to have Pap tests done regularly.

And mothers, now is a good time to talk to your GP about getting your daughter vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV) for cervical cancer. This vaccine is safe, effective, and a great way to prevent cervical cancer.

“But there is good news to report in the fight against cervical cancer. The American Cancer Society says that cervical cancer used to be one of the leading causes of cancer death in American women. However, between 1955 and 1992, the number of deaths fell sharply due to the increase in cervical cancer screenings. So call your doctor, have yourself examined and enjoy the rest that you, your family and your friends deserve. “

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