January is Cervical Health Awareness Month
The American Cancer Society’s most recent estimates for cervical cancer in the United States are for 2016:
- About 12,990 new cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed.
- About 4,120 women will die from cervical cancer.
- When detected early, the 5-year survival rate is 92%
- If detected late, the 5-year survival rate drops to 57%
- If the cancer has spread to distant parts of the body, the 5-year survival rate is 17%
Some researchers estimate that non-invasive cervical cancer (carcinoma in situ) occurs about 4 times more often than invasive cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer was once one of the most common causes of cancer death for American women. Then, between 1955 and 1992, the cervical cancer death rate declined by almost 70%. The main reason for this change was the increased use of the Pap test. This screening procedure can find changes in the cervix before cancer develops. It can also find cervical cancer early – in its most curable stage. The death rate from cervical cancer continues to decline by nearly 3% each year.
Cervical cancer tends to occur in midlife. Most cases are found in women younger than 50. It rarely develops in women younger than 20. Many older women do not realize that the risk of developing cervical cancer is still present as they age. Almost 20% of women with cervical cancer are diagnosed when they are over 65. That is why it is important for older women to continue having regular Pap tests.
Click here for specific information on current American Cancer Society screening and prevention recommendations.
In the United States, cervical cancer occurs most often in Hispanic women; at a rate that is more than twice that seen in non-Hispanic white women. African-American women develop this cancer about 50% more often than non-Hispanic white women.