Cervical cancer is rare when compared to other types of cancer; less than 1 percent of cancer cases diagnosed in the US are cervical cancers. But this doesn’t mean that it should be ignored. An estimated 12,990 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer in the US in 2016, and 4,120 died from the disease. According to the National Cancer Institute.
1. HPV is the cause of most cervical cancers
More than 90 percent of cervical cancers are caused by HPV, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As you probably know, HPV is a common STD. And most people get rid of it without a problem, but in rare cases, the infection can last for years. If the HPV infection is not taken care of. Women are at a risk of cervical cancer.
This does not mean that HPV causes all cervical cancers. Sometimes, genetic or other factors can contribute to the development of cervical cancer.
2. Cervical cancer often occurs in midlife
According to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition, around half of the women diagnosed with cervical cancer are between the ages of 35 and 55. But, this doesn’t mean that the disease can’t occur at younger or older ages.
Only 0.1 percent of women younger than 20 develop the disease, but 20 percent of women diagnosed with cervical cancer are 65 years old or more.
3. Cervical cancer doesn’t usually show symptoms early on
Cervical cancer is most treatable in the early stages, but the problem is that women usually don’t show any symptoms during the early stages. Because of this, it is recommended that you get a screening for cervical cancer with a Pap smear or HPV test – this way precancerous lesions can be caught before developing into something more serious.
4. Treatment doesn’t always lead to infertility
The main treatments for cervical cancer in the past were a radical hysterectomy or radiation therapy to the pelvis, but both of these methods lead to infertility.
However, improvements have been made, and some new treatments help preserve a woman’s fertility. Radical trachelectomy removes the cervix and the upper part of the vagina, but it doesn’t remove the uterus. Seventy percent of the women who have been treated with this procedure, and try to get pregnant afterward, are successful. But, this procedure isn’t used for all women, and cancer must be in the early stages.