The Overlooked Issue of Cervical Cancer

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Cervical cancer has a major impact on women’s lives; it is the second most common cause of cancer-related diseases and death among women worldwide. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2010), cervical cancer is the cancer that forms in tissues of the cervix. The cervix is the lower, narrow end of the uterus that connects the vagina to the upper part of the uterus. Cervical cancer is a slow-growing cancer that may not cause any symptoms at first but may cause pelvic pain or bleeding from the vagina later. It is mostly caused by a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. HPV is a common virus that is passed from one person to another during sexual activity (Center for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2010).

Women, in general, are at risk of cervical cancer. However, it is more prevalent in women over the age of 30. The American Cancer Society (2010) report on cervical cancer estimates that in each year, approximately about 12,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer and about 4,290 women will die from cervical cancer. Most cases were found in women younger than 50. Since, cervical cancer rarely develops in women younger than 20 years old, many older women do not realize that the risk of developing cervical cancer is still present starting at that age. About almost 20% of women with cervical cancer are diagnosed when they are over 65 (American Cancer Society [ACS], 2010). This is why it is very important for women between the ages of 30-50 to continue having regular Pap smear tests, which is one screening method to detect the early symptoms of cervical cancer. Another method is the HPV Vaccine, known as Cervarix and Gardasil. Both of these vaccines can protect girls and young women ...

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