Community Health Tips
Cervical cancer is the fifth leading cause of death from cancer in women. Early detection and treatment of precancerous lesions are critical. While the disease is fatal if left untreated, early detection increases the chances for survival. There is a direct relationship between the use of Pap smear as routine screening tool and the reduction of the incidence of cervical cancer. Most women who develop cervical cancer have never had a Pap smear test. The death rate in the United States alone has dropped 72% in the past five decades, with 48% of that within the preceding 20 years. Sadly, however cervical cancer is the most common cancer among women in developing countries, accounting for 80% of the estimated 437,000 new cases of cervical cancer in the world annually. The Pap smear examination is undoubtedly one of the best screening measures available for cancer detection. It is safe, non-invasive, cost effective, site specific medical procedure. Fortunately, cervical cancer usually develops slowly over many years. One of your best means for preventing cervical cancer is to have a yearly gynecologic examination with a Pap smear. This cannot be stressed strongly enough - regular, annual Pap smears are your best protection against cervical cancer.