CDC GYN Cervical Cancer Factsheet

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CDC GYN Cervical Cancer Factsheet Powered By Docstoc
					Cervical Cancer                                                                            Get the Facts About Gynecologic Cancer

There are five main types of cancer that affect a woman’s reproductive
organs: cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal, and vulvar. As a group, they
are referred to as gynecologic (GY-neh-kuh-LAH-jik) cancer. (A sixth
type of gynecologic cancer is the very rare fallopian tube cancer.)

This fact sheet about cervical cancer is part of the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Gynecologic Cancer
Awareness Campaign. The campaign helps women get the facts
about gynecologic cancer, providing important “inside knowledge”
about their bodies and health.

What is cervical cancer?                  Who gets cervical                                 Are there tests that
                                          cancer?                                           can prevent cervical
Cancer is a disease in which cells
in the body grow out of control.                                                            cancer or find it early?
                                          All women are at risk for cervical
Cancer is always named for the part       cancer. It occurs most often in                   There are two tests that can
of the body where it starts, even if it   women over age 30. In 2004,*                      help prevent cervical cancer or
spreads to other body parts later.        11,892 women in the United States                 find it early:
When cancer starts in the cervix, it is   were told they had cervical cancer.†              • The Pap test (or Pap smear)
called cervical cancer. The cervix is                                                         looks for precancers, cell
                                          It is important to get tested for cervical
the lower, narrow end of the uterus.                                                          changes on the cervix that might
                                          cancer because 6 out of 10 cervical
Also known as the womb, the uterus                                                            become cervical cancer if they
                                          cancers occur in women who have
is where a baby grows when a                                                                  are not treated.
                                          never received a Pap test or have not
woman is pregnant. The cervix
                                          been tested in the past five years.               • The HPV test looks for the
connects the upper part of the
uterus to the vagina (the birth canal).                                                       virus that can cause these
                                          The human papillomavirus (HPV), a
                                                                                              cell changes.
                                          common virus that can be passed
Cervical cancer is the easiest female
                                          from one person to another during                 The Pap test is recommended for all
cancer to prevent, with regular
screening tests and follow-up. It         sex, is the main cause of cervical                women. Talk with your doctor, nurse,
also is highly curable when found         cancer. At least half of sexually                 or other health care professional
and treated early.                        active people will have HPV at some               about whether the HPV test is right
                                          point in their lives.                             for you. Getting a Pap test regularly
                                                                                            can find precancerous changes
                                          Keep in mind, many people will                    that can be treated, so that cervical
         Fallopian Tubes                  have an HPV infection at some time                cancer is prevented. And a Pap test
              Ovaries                     in their lives, but few women will get            can find cervical cancer early, when
              Uterus                      cervical cancer.                                  treatment is most effective.
                                          * The most recent year for which statistics
                                            are currently available.
   Cervix                                 †
                                              U.S. Cancer Statistics Working Group.
                                              United States Cancer Statistics: 2004        Inside Knowledge is an initiative that
                         Vagina               Incidence and Mortality. Atlanta: U.S.       supports the Gynecologic Cancer
                                              Department of Health and Human Services,
                         Vulva                Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
                                                                                           Education and Awareness Act of
                                              and National Cancer Institute; 2007.         2005, or Johanna’s Law, which was
                                                                                           unanimously passed by the U.S.
                                                                                           House and Senate (109th Congress)
                                                                                           in December of 2006, and signed into 1-800-CDC-INFO                                               law by President George W. Bush on
                                                                                           January 12, 2007.
When should I get tested                What raises a woman’s                       What are the symptoms?
for cervical cancer?                    chance of getting                           Early on, cervical cancer usually
You should start getting regular
                                        cervical cancer?                            does not cause signs and symptoms.
                                                                                    Advanced cervical cancer may
Pap tests at age 21, or within three    Almost all cervical cancers are
                                                                                    cause bleeding or discharge from
                                        caused by HPV. You are more likely
years of the first time you have                                                    the vagina that is not normal for
                                        to get HPV if you started having
sex—whichever happens first. The        sex at an early age, or if you or your      you, such as bleeding after sex.
                                        partner have had sex with several           If you have any of these signs, talk to
Pap test is one of the most reliable
                                        others. However, any woman who              your doctor. They may be caused
and effective cancer screening                                                      by something else, but the only way
                                        has ever had sex is at risk for HPV.
tests available.                                                                    to know is to see your doctor.
                                        There are many types of HPV.
In addition to the Pap test—the         Usually HPV will go away on its             What should I do if
main test for cervical cancer—the       own, but if it does not, it may cause       my doctor says I have
                                        cervical cancer over time. Other
HPV test may be used for screening
                                        things can increase your risk of            cervical cancer?
women aged 30 years and older,          cervical cancer. They include:              If your doctor says that you have
or at any age for those who have                                                    cervical cancer, ask to be referred to
                                        • Not having regular Pap tests.
unclear Pap test results.                                                           a gynecologic oncologist—a doctor
                                        • Not following up with your doctor         who has been trained to treat cancers
If you are 30 or older, and your          if you had a Pap test result that is      like this. This doctor will work with
screening tests are normal, your          not normal.                               you to create a treatment plan.
chance of getting cervical cancer in    • Having HIV, the virus that causes         Where can I find free
the next few years is very low. For       AIDS, or another condition that
                                          makes it hard for your body to            or low-cost Pap tests?
that reason, your doctor may tell
                                          fight off health problems.                If you have a low income, or do not
you that you will not need another                                                  have insurance, you may be able to
screening test for up to three years.   • Smoking.
                                                                                    get a free or low-cost Pap test through
But you should still go to the doctor   How can I prevent it?                       the National Breast and Cervical
regularly for a check-up that may                                                   Cancer Early Detection Program. To
                                        • Get the HPV vaccine. It protects          learn more, call 1-800-CDC-INFO or
include a pelvic exam.                    against the HPV types that most           visit
                                          often cause cervical cancer and
It also is important for you to           is given in a series of three shots.
continue getting a Pap test               The vaccine is recommended
                                          for girls 11 and 12 years of age.
                                                                                      Where can I find more
regularly—even if you think you                                                       information about
                                          The vaccine also can be given to
are too old to have a child, or           females aged 13 through 26 who              cervical cancer?
are not having sex anymore. If            did not get any or all of the shots
                                          yet. (Note: The vaccine can be              Centers for Disease Control and
you are older than 65 and have
                                          given to girls 9 or 10 years of age.)       Prevention: 1-800-CDC-INFO or
had normal Pap test results for                                             
several years, or if you have had       • See your doctor regularly for a
                                          Pap test that can find cervical             National Cancer Institute:
your cervix removed (during an                                                        1-800-4-CANCER or
operation called a hysterectomy),
                                        • Follow up with your doctor if your
your doctor may tell you it is okay
                                          test results are not normal.              * HPV infection can occur in both male and female
to stop getting regular Pap tests.                                                    genital areas that are covered or protected by
                                        • Don’t smoke.                                a latex condom, as well as in areas that are not
                                                                                      covered. While the effect of condoms in preventing
                                        • Use condoms during sex.*                    HPV infection is unknown, condom use has been
                                                                                      associated with a lower rate of cervical cancer.
                                        • Limit your number of sexual
                                          partners.                                 CDC Publication #99-9123, Revised July 2008

                                           Get the Facts About Gynecologic Cancer

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