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News You Can Use A monthly newsletter from the Cancer Learning Center January 2008 – Issue 32

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month Cervical cancer is unique: it is one of few cancers that have a nearly 100 percent five-year survival rate when detected in the early stages. With cancer, the key is early detection.

Cervical cancer results when normal cervical cells undergo precancerous changes. These changes usually develop over several years, but may develop in less than a year. Risk factors include the following:

• Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection

• Sex at an early age and many sexual partners

• HIV infection • History of sexually transmitted disease • Multiple pregnancies • Smoking • Diet low in fruits and vegetables • Obesity

Cervical precancerous cells and early cancers do not always have symptoms or signs. Symptoms typically occur when the cancer has become invasive and may include abnormal vaginal bleeding and pain during sexual intercourse.

Only some women with precancerous cervical cells develop cancer; some precancerous cells remain unchanged or go away without treatment. However, if

precancerous cells are detected, it is important to have them treated early to prevent the potential of cervical cancer.

The American Cancer Society estimates about 11,150 cases of invasive cervical cancer were diagnosed in 2007, with 3,670 fatal cases. The

number of cervical cancer deaths in the United States has dropped by 74 percent since 1955, which can be attributed to the increased use of the Pap test. This screening procedure detects changes in the cervix before cancer develops. It can also detect cancer in its early and most curable stage.

Despite benefits of the Pap test, not all women in the United States take advantage of it or have access to care. In particular, elderly, African-American, and low-income women are less likely to have regular Pap tests. Between 60 and 80 percent of U.S. women with newly diagnosed invasive cervical cancer have not had a Pap test in the past five years or have never had a Pap test. Due to cervical cancer’s promising survival rate when detected early, all women should take advantage and have access to this screening procedure.

For more information, visit or call the Cancer Learning Center: (888) 424-2100.

The Cancer Learning Center (CLC) is a free resource library on the first floor of

Huntsman Cancer Institute

(801) 581-6365 • (888) 424-2100


Books Abnormal Pap Smears: What Every Woman Needs to Know

Treating Cervical Cancer

The Pap Test: What Every Woman Should Know

Taking Control of Your Health: The Pap Test and Cervical Cancer

The Gynaecological Cancer Guide: Sex, Sanity, and Survival

Women at Risk: The HPV Epidemic and Your Cervical Health

Extraordinary Moments: For Women, Family Members, Caregivers, and Healthcare Professionals Battling Issues Related to Cervical Cancer

La Protección del Cáncer: Por Su Salud y Su Familia

Cáncer Cervicouterino: Diagnóstico, Prevención, y Control

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