NPR – A new study finds that late-stage cervical cancer cases are on the rise in the U.S., and some researchers hypothesize that a decrease in screenings among young women could be why more women are being diagnosed with the deadly disease.
While the overall rate of cervical cancer in the U.S. is on the decline, the number of women suffering from advanced stages of the disease — which has a five-year survival rate of 17% — is increasing.
Researchers at the University of California Los Angeles Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology set out to investigate stage 4 cervical cancer trends in the country by analyzing data from 2001 to 2018.
In a study published Thursday in the International Journal of Gynecologic Cancer, they found a 1.3% increase per year in advanced stages of the disease, with the greatest increase taking place among white women in the South aged 40 to 44, among whom cases went up 4.5% annually.
Researchers also found that Black women have an overall higher rate of late-stage cervical cancer, at 1.55 per 100,000, versus 0.92 per 100,000 in white women.
“HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease, according to the CDC, so common that most sexually active people will contract the virus at some point in their lives.”
Dr. Alex Francoeur, a fourth year OB-GYN resident at UCLA, said the team’s recent study was born out of a study published last year, which found a 3.39% annual increase in advanced cases among women aged 30 to 34.
“This is a disease that only 17% of patients will live past five years,” Francoeur said. “So, if you’re a 30-year-old who won’t live past their 35th birthday, that’s tragic.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends women start getting Pap tests at 21 and receive a follow every three years, depending on their health history.
The test screens for precancers, which if detected, can be surgically removed. Cervical cancer detected early enough can have a five-year survival rate of over 90%.
Women should also get a routine human papillomavirus (HPV) test, according to the National Cancer Institute guidelines …
Cervical Cancer Do’s and Don’ts
- Don’t smoke, it reduces your body’s ability to fight infection
- Don’t have too many sex partners
- Don’t have sex with people who have had anal intercourse. (A hint that someone has engaged in anal intercourse is that they want to engage in it with you.)
- Most importantly, don’t neglect to get the HPV vaccine, details below …
CDC – The most important thing you can do to help prevent cervical cancer is to get vaccinated early and have regular screening tests.
- HPV vaccination is recommended for preteens aged 11 to 12 years, but can be given starting at age 9.
- HPV vaccine also is recommended for everyone through age 26 years, if they are not vaccinated already.
- HPV vaccination is not recommended for everyone older than age 26 years. However, some adults age 27 through 45 years who are not already vaccinated may decide to get the HPV vaccine after speaking with their doctor about their risk for new HPV infections and the possible benefits of vaccination. HPV vaccination in this age range provides less benefit, as more people have already been exposed to HPV.
If vaccination is started before age 15, a two-dose schedule is recommended, with the doses given 6 to 12 months apart. For people who start the series after their 15th birthday, the vaccine is given in a series of three shots.
HPV vaccination prevents new HPV infections, but does not treat existing infections or diseases. This is why the HPV vaccine works best when given before any exposure to HPV. You should get screened for cervical cancer regularly, even if you received an HPV vaccine … READ MORE.