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Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

Cervical cancer kills more than 4,200 women every year

And still many women don’t take the time to have an annual exam and Pap test.

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month. Early detection is the best way to fight cervical cancer, which often has no symptoms. It’s critical that every woman get the annual pelvic exams and tests she needs, even if she feels healthy or doesn’t suspect anything is wrong.

Cervical cancer statistics

What is the impact of cervical cancer?  According to the American Cancer Society. 

  • More than12,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with cervical cancer this year
  • Over 4,200 deaths from the disease will occur this year
  • The 5-year survival rate for all women with cervical cancer: 68%
  • White women 5-year survival rate: 69%
  • Black women 5-year survival rate: 57%
  • 46% of women with cervical cancer are diagnosed at an early stage
  • Early detection raises the 5-year survival rate for women with invasive cervical cancer to 91%

If cervical cancer spreads to surrounding tissues, organs or regional lymph nodes, the 5-year survival rate is 57%. If it spreads to a distant part of the body, the 5-year survival rate is only 17%.

Cervical cancer symptoms and causes

The vast majority of women who have cervical cancer have no symptoms until the cancer has become invasive, growing into other areas and organs.

That means testing and knowing your risks are critically important. Catching cervical cancer early is the very best way to increase your chances of survival.

So, what puts a woman at greater risk for cervical cancer?

  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection
  • Smoking
  • Being overweight
  • Diet low in fruits and vegetables
  • Weakened immune system
  • Chlamydia infection
  • Long-term birth control pill use
  • IUD use
  • Multiple full-term pregnancies
  • Family history of cervical cancer

Your urogynecologist can go through a complete list of factors with you to determine your risk.

Pap test: The lowdown

The Pap test is performed in your urogynecologist’s office to collect cells from the cervix. These cells are sent to a lab where they can look for cancerous and pre-cancerous cells. Pre-cancerous cells can be treated before they turn into cervical cancer.

If abnormal cells are found, your provider may advise follow-up Pap tests or a biopsy.

After Cervical Cancer

For cervical cancer survivors, the joy of being deemed cancer-free is often followed by confusion and distress about how to cope with changes to the vagina following surgery and other cancer treatments.

Depending on your case, diVa® Vaginal Laser Therapy may help resolve issues such as lack of moisture and reduced sensation in the vagina that can result from chemotherapy treatments.

Your urogynecologist can guide you through the treatments and therapies you need to make a full recovery, regain your confidence and sexuality and feel like your former self again.

At the Coyle Institute, we want our patients to be healthy for life. We encourage women to follow the recommended schedule for pelvic exams and Pap tests and screenings for sexually transmitted diseases.

If you are due (or overdue) for your annual exam or recommended Pap test, contact the Coyle Institute to set up an appointment. We are here for your whole health and your long life.