According to the Centers For Disease Control, in 2011, African American women had the second highest rate of getting cervical cancer; Hispanic women had the highest. However, black women were far more likely to die of cervical cancer than any other group. It seems so unfair. How can this be prevented?
What causes cervical cancer?
Cervical cancer is cancer that forms in the cervix, which is the lower, narrow end of the uterus, also known as the womb. According to the CDC, cervical cancer affects mostly women over age 30. About 12,000 women are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. Unfortunately, almost a third, or 4,000, die from it. The main cause of cervical cancer is HPV, or genital human papillomavirus.
How to reduce the risk of cervical cancer
There are 13 types of HPVs; some are considered low risk, and others are high risk. High risk HPV can cause normal cells to become abnormal cells and develop cancer. then cancer. Although there is no guarantee that all cervical cancer can be prevented, there are ways in which black women and other women can lower their risk. Here are 5.
- Don't smoke - Women who smoke have twice the normal risk of cervical cancer than non-smokers.
- Beware of birth control pills - women who have taken birth control pill for less than 5 years increase their risk by 10 percent, but women who take birth control pills for 5-9 years increase their risk by 60 percent.
- Multiple pregnancies - three or more full-term pregnancies can increase the risk of cervical cancer.
- Healthy diet - eating more fruits and vegetables will decrease the risk of cervical cancer.
- Regular checkups - cervical cancer can be prevented with regular cancer screenings, also known as Pap tests, and following up on any abnormal test results.
Importance of screening
One of the most important steps that women can take, especially black women who are at greater risk for cervical cancer, is to get regular screenings for cervical cancer. Catching this potentially deadly disease before symptoms develop is critical in order to prevent cervical cancer from becoming deadly.
For more information on cervical cancer, it's causes and treatments, visit www.cdc.gov/cancer/cervical/index.htm