As with most types of cancer, cervical cancer prevention is the best weapon patients have in helping themselves stay healthy and live long, productive lives. Because the disease often shows no abnormalities or symptoms until a patient is already in Stage II or even Stage III of the disease, it’s important to do more than see your gynecologist once every year for a check-up and a pap smear. Although virtually any woman at any age is at risk for developing the disease, it primarily affects those between 35 and 55, and can be one of the most challenging types of cancer to send into remission.
Approximately 12,170 new cases of cervical cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year. A few years ago it was one of the leading causes of death in women in the U.S. It is still the third leading cause of death for women worldwide. Annual pap smears have caused the number of deaths in the U. S. to drastically decline. Pap smears find changes in the cervix before cancer develops. Cervical cancer tends to develop in midlife, but it may occur earlier or later in life.