Health Discoveries in Cervical Cancer

January is a time to raise awareness about cervical cancer

January 6, 2010
Raising awareness about cervical cancer and the virus that causes it is the focus of Cervical Health Awareness Month throughout January, according to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition (NCCC).

The human papillomavirus (HPV) causes the disease that was diagnosed in more than 11,000 women in the U.S. last year. Although widespread use of Pap tests has reduced cervical cancer by about half in recent years, approximately 4,000 died from this form of cancer in 2009, the American Cancer Society reported.

Recently, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommended that Pap tests be administered to women starting at age 21, and continue every two years throughout their 20s. For women 30 and older, a Pap smear should be done every three years once they've had clear tests three years in a row.

"It's important that we not overtreat the disease, or under treat it, but to treat it appropriately depending on an individual's risk," said Dr. Diana Contreras, head of the gynecological oncology division of LIJ Medical Center in New Hyde Park, New York. "Our hope is that we are still able to identify those who need to be screened most."

LIJ is part of the North Shore-LIJ Health System.ADNFCR-2730-ID-19543861-ADNFCR
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