Cervical cancer is among the most common cancers in women, however unlike a lot of other cancers the rates of incidence of cervical cancer has actually fallen in the recent past.
In the middle of the 20th century, cervical cancer was killing more women in the United States than any other kind of cancer and better screening and regular administration of pap smears significantly changed this scenario.
Cervical cancer is also unique in that it is possible to prevent this form of cancer by virtue of a vaccine, at least in some cases.
It is heartening to note the positive impact that the HPV vaccine has had; of leading to a drop in cervical cancer cases since its introduction and the program for implementation in the years 2007 to 2009 in Australia.
The program was aimed at vaccinating females aged between the years 12 and 26.
A reduction of 38% in the rates of precancerous cervical lesions has been noted in the couple of years following the vaccination program. Among younger women of 17 years and below, this rate fell by about 50%.
Researchers have concluded from this, that the vaccine is most effective when administered to very young women, before they become sexually active.
Though researchers are being cautious about making too much of the study, and say that further research is required, they admit to being encouraged by this, which is the first real life study of a vaccine program.
There is some indication that clinicians may be becoming overzealous in their quest for cervical screening. A recent government report found that doctors may be over testing for cervical cancer. It has been seen that when it comes to testing for cervical cancer it is not a case of one size fits all; rather the screening should depend upon a woman’s age and circumstances.
It has been found that many health care professionals are administering unnecessary tests, and aren’t following guidelines.
According to Dr. Mona Saraiya of the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), this needless testing is a drain on resources and could harm women who end up undergoing unnecessary procedures. It has also been noted that some kinds of screenings for HP virus (which causes most cases of cervical cancer), are not even connected to cervical cancer.
To understand what women should be doing to safe guard themselves against cervical cancer, the CDC brochure about when to get tested and what to make of your test results may be referred to, for comprehensive information about the disease.