Cervical Cancer Treatment: Early Detection is Essential
How curable is cervical cancer? One hundred percent if detected early enough. And radiation and chemotherapy are not necessary for the most common form of cervical cancer.
The key to detecting cervical cancer before its too late, is a regular visit to your gynecologist for a Pap test. Yet half of all women over the age of sixty five have not had a Pap test in over three years. Thats especially tragic because women sixty five years and older account for nearly 25 percent of all cervical cancer cases and 41 percent of cervical cancer deaths in the United States.
Many older women experience barriers to regular Pap test screening, which often include any of the following: lack of knowledge about testing frequency; anxiety that the test might be painful or embarrassing; underestimation of personal risk for cervical cancer; fear of test results; language and cultural barriers
A Pap test is a short, relatively painless and fairly inexpensive test for any cellular changes in the cervix. If the smear is positive, the doctor will immediately do another smear to verify the first one. If the initial result is confirmed, the gynecologist must then determine how much the cells have changed by performing a biopsy, another office procedure that involves snipping off some cervical tissue for future analysis. To get tissue from the most affected part, gynecologists now use a sophisticated instrument called a colposcopy, which provides a magnified, well-lit view of the suspicious area of the cervix.