Newswise — SEATTLE – Cervical cancer previously killed more American women than any other cancer. Today, cervical cancer mortality has fallen over 70 percent in the past five years – largely due to widespread use of the Pap test for early detection. While Pap tests have quickly become accepted as a standard practice for cancer screening, the medical community has seen slow progress in public-acceptance of HPV vaccinations for cervical cancer prevention.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists first recommended annual cervical cancer screenings and pelvic exams in 1995. From 1998 to 2007, new cases of cervical cancer fell 2.7 percent each year while cervical cancer mortality dropped by 2.2 percent annually. If administered widely, vaccination against HPV has the potential to further decrease cervical cancer’s rate of incidence and mortality.
“Despite recommendation from the FDA and medical community, vaccination against HPV continues to grow at an alarmingly slow rate,” states Dr. Barbara Goff, director of gynecological oncology at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. “In 2011, only 35 percent of 11-12 year old girls received HPV vaccinations.”
In 2013, approximately 12,000 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer in the United States with a majority of cases being HPV-associated.
“Cervical Cancer Awareness month is an opportunity for educating ourselves, our daughters and our friends about women’s tools for prevention and early detection of cervical cancer,” stated Dr. Linda Hipps, a gynecologist who practices at The Women’s Center at SCCA. “The HPV vaccine is a first step in cervical cancer prevention. For women 21 or older, regular Pap tests and cancer screenings are the next step. Early detection of cervical cancer gives women a 92 percent survival rate. Women should take this month to learn about the best options for them and their daughters for protecting themselves against cervical cancer.” SCCA is a leading expert in cervical cancer and women’s health. SCCA has more obstetrics and gynecological doctors than any other medical center or clinic in the Pacific Northwest. Dr. Goff is a gynecologic oncologist who specializes in caring for women with cervical, endometrial, ovarian, and other gynecologic cancers. Her clinical specialties include the biology of ovarian cancer; clinical trials for gynecological malignancies; gynecologic surgery; hereditary ovarian, tubal and endometrial cancers. Dr. Hipps is a practicing physician at SCCA’s Women’s Center. Her practice focuses on women’s health issues such as menopause, osteoporosis and the diagnosis and treatment of abnormal pap tests.
###About Seattle Cancer Care AllianceSeattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) is a cancer treatment center that unites doctors from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, UW Medicine and Seattle Children’s. Our goal, every day, is to turn cancer patients into cancer survivors. Our purpose is to lead the world in the prevention and treatment of cancer. SCCA has three clinical care sites: an outpatient clinic on the Hutchinson Center campus, a pediatric inpatient unit at Seattle Children’s, and an adult inpatient unit at UW Medical Center. For more information about SCCA, visit www.seattlecca.org.