- Cervical cancer is cancer that starts the cervix. The cervix is located inside the vagina (birth canal) and connects the vagina to the upper part of the uterus.
- Each year, approximately 12,000 women in the United States get cervical cancer.
- Louisiana has one of the highest cervical cancer rates in the country.
- All women are at risk for cervical cancer, but it tends to occur in midlife. Most cases are found in women younger than 50, and it rarely develops in women younger than 20.
- In the United States, Hispanic women are most likely to get cervical cancer, followed by African-Americans, Asians and Pacific Islanders, and whites. American Indians and Alaskan natives have the lowest risk of cervical cancer in this country.
- Almost all cervical cancers are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), a common virus that can be passed from one person to another during sex. But other things can also lead to increased risk— HIV, smoking, three or more childbirths, and having several sexual partners.
- Women with early cervical cancers and pre-cancers usually have no symptoms.
- Advanced cervical cancer may cause bleeding or discharge from the vagina that is not normal for you, such as bleeding after sex.
- Having regular Pap tests starting at age 21 can help prevent cervical cancer or find it early. The Pap test (or Pap smear) looks for precancers, cell changes on the cervix that might become cervical cancer if they are not treated appropriately.
- If you have a low income or do not have health insurance, you may be able to get a free or low-cost Pap test through the Louisiana Breast and Cervical Health Program.
Find a gynecologist that’s right for you and schedule your “Well Woman” visit today.
Source: American Cancer Society & Center for Disease Control (CDC)