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Cervical cancer is an abnormal growth of cells within the woman's cervix. If let undetected or untreated, it has the potential of spreading to other parts of the body, eventually leading to death.
- Worldwide, cervical cancer is the fourth-most common of cancer and the fourth-most common cause of cancer death among women.
- Some 70 percent of all cases of cervical cancer occur in developing nations.
- Prognosis when detected early can result in a much as a 100% survival rate.
- With treatment, the five-year survival rate is 92 percent, even for those diagnosed with early stages of the invasive phase.
It has been estimated that there are about 12,900 new cases of cervical cancer in the United States each year, resulting in the death of some 4,100 women. The median age of diagnosis is 48, with higher rates among Hispanic women than other populations. Cervical cancer is, however, less common than either endometrial cancer or ovarian cancer. One of the leading causes of cervical cancer in women is the HPV virus. Two vaccines, given in late adolescence, is said to be between 92 and 100 percent effective in preventing the spread of HPV. It is not yet known whether a later booster dose is required.
Worldwide, treatment for cervical cancer largely depends upon the nation. Radiation has proven effective in the treatment of cervical cancer, but hysterectomy may be required from stage 1A microinvasive cancer. It is recommended that women take a Pap smear exam every 3 to 5 years in order to screen for cervical cancer.