African American Women And Cervical Cancer
(BlackDoctor.org) — The cervix connects the uterus (where a baby grows) to the vagina (the birth canal). Cervical cancer is a disease in which cancer cells are found in the tissues of the cervix. Before cancer cells are found on the cervix, abnormal cells start to appear. Cancer that goes untreated starts to grow and spread more deeply into the cervix and to nearby areas. Cancer of the cervix usually grows over a period of time.
If found early enough, abnormal cells can be treated before they turn into cancer. Your doctor finds these cells by doing a Pap test.
Get a Pap test every one to three years if you have been sexually active, starting at no later than at 21 years old. After your first Pap test, you should have a Pap test at least once every three years. Talk to your doctor about how often you should have a Pap test and pelvic exam.
African American women develop cervical cancer more often than white women and are more than twice as likely to die from it. Testing is very important to help reduce this disparity.
Almost all cervical cancers are caused by two types of human papillomavirus (HPV), a common virus that is spread through sex. Other types of HPV can cause genital warts. Many types of HPV do not cause problems at all. HPV can’t be cured, but you can talk about treatment options with your doctor if abnormal cells grow.