Cancer is the most dreaded human disease given that worldwide more than 12 million people are diagnosed with cancer each year. Furthermore, an alarming 20,000 die from it daily and cancer remains incurable in it’s advanced stages.

In particular, cervical cancer is the second-most common cancer that inflicts women, next to breast cancer. In the United States approximately 11,000 case  of cervical cancer are found annually and although it also the most preventable type of cancer, many still die from it. In 2006, about 4000 women died from it. It is then essential to understand what this cancer is and how it occurs to prevent more deaths.  Close to eight five percent of those who perish from cervical cancer have never had a pap smear.

PelvicIllustration_lgHow Cervical Cancer Occurs – Risks and Causes:

* Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
* Smoking
* HIV (which is the virus which causes Aids or any other condition that causes your immune system to have to fight off problems)
* On birth control pills for more than 5 years

* Having given birth to three or more children

 
All women can contract cervical cancer, however it is more likely to occur in those who are over the age of 30.  In the United States alone cervical cancer affects approximately 12,000 women annually. Worldwide approximately 470,000 cases are diagnosed each year.  Sexually active women are at a risk for contracting the human papilloma virus (HPV) which is the main cause of cervical cancer. Sexual contact can opens the possibility for sexually transmitted diseases especially in cases when intercourse occurs with more than one partner for any length of time. Almost one half of all sexually active individuals contract HPV infection at one point in their lives although few will actually get cervical cancer.

Cancer in general occurs when cells do not die or reproduce as they normally should. Cervical cancer in particular occurs when the cells abnormally reproduce in the cervix which is the area below the uterus where the baby grows during pregnancy. When cells abnormally reproduce they produce tumors which may be benign (harmless) or malignant which is when cancer starts. HPV infection is the cause for almost all cervical cancer.

Cancerous tumors are named after where they occur. It is possible for cancer cells to spread beyond their original site. This is called metastases. Metastatic cancer occurs in advanced stages and often, doctors can only diagnose the complications and not the original cause.

Cervical cancer is the most preventable type of cancer and it is possible to stem the growth of cancerous tumors in early stages: early detection and diagnosis in the key, not just for cervical cancer but any type of cancer or disease.

2006  United States Cervical Cancer Statistics:
By Race And Ethnicity

  • 11,982 women overall.
  • 9,294 white women.
  • 1,861 Hispanic women.
  • 1,839 African-American women.
  • 532 Asian/Pacific Islander women.
  • 82 American Indian/Alaska Native women.
    cervicalcancerstats

     

Deaths from Cervical Cancer By Race and Ethnicity (2006 Data)

  • 3,976 women overall.
  • 3,014 white women.
  • 784 African-American women.
  • 465 Hispanic women.
  • 152 Asian/Pacific Islander women.
  • 26 American Indian/Alaska Native women.

Because cervical cancer is one of the few types of cancers that is almost 100% preventable it is very important that you see your doctor for regular screenings and follow your physician’s recommendations regarding preventative care.   If you cannot afford regular screening contact Planned Parenthood, the American Cancer Society and/or your local health department to inquire about free or low cost screenings in your area. Being diligent about your health can not only help you stay well—it can also save your life!