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Information for the Public - Cervical Cancer

Cervical Cancer Facts

An estimated 12,360 cases of invasive cervical cancer are expected to occur among women in the United States in 2014 and 4,020 deaths are expected. In 2014 in Iowa, approximately 100 cases of cervical cancer will be diagnosed and about 32 women will die from this disease.

Cervical Cancer Risk Factors

  • Infection with the Human Papillomavirus (HPV).
  • Sexual intercourse onset at an early age.
  • Many sexual partners.
  • Smoking cigarettes.
  • Having a compromised immune system.
  • Long term use of oral contraceptives.
  • High number of childbirths.

Cervical Cancer Symptoms

It is important to see your healthcare provider if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding.
  • Bleeding that starts and stops between regular menstrual periods.
  • Menstrual bleeding that is heavier or lasts longer than usual.
  • Bleeding after sexual intercourse.
  • Bleeding after a pelvic exam.
  • Bleeding after menopause.
  • Increased vaginal discharge.

Fortunately most cervical cancers develop slowly. They can be prevented if a woman is screened at recommended intervals.

Cervical Cancer Early Detection and Prevention

Early detection could save your life. In addition to preventing cancer, cervical screening can detect cancer early, when treatment is most successful. There are two vaccines approved for the prevention of the most common types of HPV infection that cause cervical cancer. Gardasil is recommended for use in females and males age nine to 26. Cervarix is a vaccine approved for females ages nine to 25. These vaccines cannot protect you if you already have an HPV infections, and they do not protect against all types of HPV.

  • Have cervical screening at recommended intervals based on your medical history.
  • Participate in age/gender appropriate HPV vaccination recommendations.