Cervical Cancer Risk Nearly 90% Lower in HPV-Vaccinated Individuals
November 25, 2020
Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women globally. It used to be one of the most common causes of cancer-related deaths in the United States, though with an increase in preventive testing (i.e. Pap and human papillomavirus, or HPV, tests) and an HPV vaccine, the numbers have steadily decreased. A Swedish registry study has found that women who receive the HPV vaccine are nearly 90% less at risk for cervical cancer than unvaccinated women. Though cervical cancer-related death rates may be lower today than they were decades ago, there are still approximately 14,000 new cases of invasive cervical cancer in the U.S. each year and nearly 4,300 fatalities. This recent study further proves how critical it is to get a HPV vaccine in order to reduce the likelihood of developing cervical cancers.
Cervical Cancer: Quick Facts
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), the average age of diagnosis for cervical cancer is 50. That being said, cervical cancer is also frequently diagnosed in women between the ages of 35 and 44-years-old. The truth is that women of all ages can develop cervical cancer, though certain age groups face higher risks than others. Cervical pre-cancers are typically much easier – and less deadly – to treat than full blown cervical cancers, which is why it is so important not only to prevent pre-cancerous growth, but to detect pre-cancerous changes early on in order to improve survival rates.
The three most effective ways to prevent getting cervical cancer are:
- Get tested for HPV. Certain types of the human papillomavirus are more likely to cause cervical cancer than others. HPV testing screens for these different types of infection and results can alert healthcare professionals to a patient’s cervical cancer risk level
- Get a Pap test (also known as a Pap smear). Pap smears collect cervical cells to examine them for signs of pre-cancers and cancer. According to the ACS, most women diagnosed with invasive cervical cancers have not had regular Pap testing
- Get the HPV vaccine, so long as you are eligible. The HPV vaccine is most effective when it is given to individuals who are not yet sexually active. The vaccine is a series of injections and side effects of the HPV vaccine are typically mild (such as short-term redness, soreness and swelling at the injection site). The ACS recommends HPV vaccination of children between the ages of 9 and 12, or those between the ages of 13 and 26-years-old who are unvaccinated or have not received their full dose. If you are over 26-years-old and are interested in receiving the HPV, talk to a medical professional directly
It is essential to take every possible precaution against the development of cervical cancers. Early stage cervical cancers generally present without symptoms, which makes them difficult to detect. Unfortunately, this means that many women do not experience symptoms until the cancer has advanced. This is why staying up-to-date on Pap smears and getting tested for human papillomavirus are both integral and lifesaving forms of preventive care. If you have not yet received your HPV vaccine, make an appointment with your healthcare provider to discuss the best options.
When Doctors Make Mistakes
Medical malpractice mistakes are made during the testing, diagnosis, treatment and care of patients. Not every medical mistake is medical malpractice; but when a healthcare provider is negligent either in performing or by omitting something considered to be standard practice and it causes injury to the patient, you may want to consider filing a medical malpractice claim. Here are a few examples of negligent medical care that can result in injury to a patient with cervical cancer:
- Failing to properly assess a woman for signs and symptoms of cervical cancer
- Failure to follow up on abnormal test results or the improper reading of results
- Inadequate Pap smear testing (e.g. using the wrong technique)
If you believe that your healthcare provider failed to uphold the standard of care and your health was negatively impacted by it, someone at our firm can help. To learn more about filing a medical malpractice claim, contact a representative online now.
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