Health Headlines: Study shows cervical cancer rates increasing

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Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 7:01 AM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - At one point in the U.S., cervical cancer was counted as one of the deadliest cancers, but the development of a screening test in the 1940′s and 50′s caused a significant drop in deaths. However, a new study shows that the rates are going up again in a group of women who would least expect it.

That research comes from scientists at UCLA who are studying those cervical cancer rate trends and have found an increase in stage 4, or advanced disease, in women over 40.

Dr. Robert Edwards is an Ob/GYN who says, “Those women have about a 17% overall survival at five years.”

Specializing in gynecologic oncology at the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Edwards says women in their 40′s and 50′s can fall through the cracks when it comes to routine screening.

“They’re not old enough to have other medical conditions. They’re too old to need contraception. So, they really don’t have any other reason to come to the doctor.”

He says that the HPV vaccine, given to adolescents before they are sexually active, will help to eliminate cervical cancer. Dr. Edwards say HPV is linked to more than 90% of all anal and cervical cancers.

Researchers at UCLA also published a study earlier last year which found a more than 3% increase in advanced cervical cancers in women between 30 and 34. That suggests more women these days are not undergoing screening. Some experts say that limited access to healthcare and insurance could be contributed to this increase.

The CDC recommends women start getting PAP tests at 21 and receive a follow-up every three years. The test picks up precancers, which can be removed. Studies show that cervical cancer detected early has a five-year survival rate of over 90%.