MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The WVU Cancer Institute is joining organizations across the world to increase awareness of cervical cancer this January in recognition of Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. Cervical cancer diagnoses have increased the last 40 years as the result of many women getting regular Pap tests, which can find cervical precancerous cells before they become cancer.
“Cervical cancer affects many women and is preventable through early detection,” Valerie Galvan Turner, M.D., gynecologic oncologist at the WVU Cancer Institute, said. “It is important that women participate in preventive screenings every three to five years, depending on age.”
Approximately eight in 100,000 women in West Virginia will be diagnosed with cervical cancer, which is most frequently diagnosed in women between the ages of 35 and 44 and rarely develops in women younger than 20 years of age.
“Treatments for cervical cancer have greatly improved in recent years,” Krista Pfaendler, M.D., gynecologic oncologist at the WVU Cancer Institute, said. “However, prevention through early detection is still the best treatment.”
About Cervical Cancer
Nearly all cases of cervical cancer are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). There are more than 100 types of HPV, of which more than 40 can be sexually transmitted. Among these, about 15 are considered to be cancer-causing, or high-risk, types. Two of these high-risk types, HPV-16 and HPV-18, cause about 70 percent of cervical cancers worldwide. HPV infection is very common, but it usually goes away on its own. Persistent HPV infections, however, can cause cellular abnormalities that sometimes develop into cervical cancer if not treated.
Treatment of cervical cancer has improved considerably. The five-year relative survival rate for women diagnosed with cervical cancer is close to 75 percent. Most cervical cancer patients receive radiation plus concurrent chemotherapy as part of their treatment.
About the WVU Cancer Institute
The WVU Cancer Institute – located at the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center at J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital, WVU Medicine’s flagship hospital, and at seven locations across the state – provides comprehensive cancer care to patients in West Virginia and across Appalachia. For more information, visit wvumedicine.org/cancer.
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