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Cervical Cancer

  • The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2005, about 10,370 cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed in the United States.
  • Around 3,710 women will die from cervical cancer in the United States during 2005.
  • Some researchers estimate that non-invasive cervical cancer (carcinoma in situ) is about four times more common than invasive cervical cancer.
  • Cervical cancer is caused by human papilloma virus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection.
  • In the US, up to 70% of sexually active women will become infected with human papillomavirus (HPV) during their lifetime.
  • A college female has a 60% likelihood of becoming infected with HPV during her 4 years in college.†
  • Worldwide, HPV causes approximately 470,000 cases of cervical cancer annually. (Approximately 31,000 women die from cervical cancer per year in Europe.)
  • Cervical cancer was once one of the most common causes of cancer death for American women. Since the introduction of the Pap smear, the number of cervical cancer deaths in the United States has dropped by 74%.
  • The death rate from cervical cancer continues to decline by about 2% a year.††
  • Half of women diagnosed with cervical cancer in the US are between the ages of 35 and 55. It rarely occurs in women younger than 20.
  • Although cervical cancer does affect young women, many older women do not realize that the risk of developing cervical cancer is still present as they age. Slightly over 20% of women with cervical cancer are diagnosed in the US when they are over 65. It is important for older women to continue having regular Pap tests at least until age 70, and possibly longer.
  • The 5-year relative survival rate for invasive cervical cancer that is caught at its earliest stage is nearly 100%. If it is a little more advanced but hasn't spread to the lymph nodes or anywhere else, the survival rate drops to 92%. The overall (all stages combined) 5-year survival rate for cervical cancer is about 73% in the United States.
  • Two different vaccines for HPV are currently in development: Cervarex (Glaxo Smith Kline) and Gardasil (Merck & Company). Gardasil is expected to be the first available in the US in 2006.
  • A test for HPV is available in conjunction with a Pap test:† DNA with Papô (Digene).† This is recommended for women over age 30 who have been sexually active.†

Created: 4/16/2005  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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