Have You Been Screened for Cervical Cancer?
There’s something fresh and clean about opening up a fresh new calendar and filling in all the fun dates this new year has in store for you. Birthdays, anniversaries, pre-planned vacations and milestones are exciting events to look forward to. However, we all have those yearly events that aren’t the most exciting, like Tax Day, the start of a new school semester or a trip to the doctor.
As time goes on our doctor’s visits start to go beyond more than just the basic physical exam. Per your age, medical history or symptoms it may be time to speak with your physician about certain cancer screenings. One of the most important screenings for women is a cervical cancer screening.
Know the Numbers
According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 13,000 women develop cervical cancer. In the 1970s, more than 5 women per 100,000 died from cervical cancer. This numbers have drastically improved over the years. Statistics have shown that mortality rates have decreased by half due to screening enhancements and recommendations.
The United State Preventative Services Task Force, USPSTF, recommends screening for cervical cancer in women ranging in ages from 21 to 65 years by way of a pap smear every 3 years.
For women ages 30 to 65 years who would rather not see this scheduled on their yearly calendar, they would need the recommended screening in combination with cytology and human papillomavirus (HPV) testing every 5 years.
Pap smears usually start at age 21 and can be performed by your doctor. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, says this is one of the most effective and reliable screening tests available. However, this test does not screen for ovarian, uterine, vaginal, or vulvar cancers.