AUSTIN (KXAN) — The American Cancer Society says 12,000 new cases of invasive cervical cancer are diagnosed each year. Dr. Yvette Williams-Brown from Seton Medical Center joins KXAN to talk about how early detection can help women fight the disease.
Dr. Williams-Brown says while 12,000 is a large number, it is important to note that cervical precancers are diagnosed far more often than invasive cervical cancer, thanks to the Pap Smear test that screens for cancerous cells on the cervix.This test can find changes in the cervix both before cancer develops and in the early stages of the cancer.
With women older than 20 years old making up the majority of cervical cancer cases, Dr. Williams-Brown says that women at any age after 20 should be conscious of their health.
Cervical cancer, unlike other types of cancers, can be difficult for a person to detect on their own because there are typically no symptoms associated with it, although sometimes some women may experience abnormal bleeding, vaginal pain and abnormal discharge. Dr. Williams-Brown says the best way to know is to get a Pap Smear test.
If abnormalities are detected in the test result, it is followed by a Human Papillomavirus (HPV) screening. The HPV screening is nearly twice as effective as the Pap Smear test in detecting early cervical cancer.