|January 28, 2004
REGULAR SCREENINGS RECOMMENED TO REDUCE CERVICAL CANCER
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Cervical cancer is one of the most common and curable types of cancer found in women in the United States but, in order to reduce mortality from this disease, women need to have regular Pap test screenings, according to Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director.
"Women don't have to live with cervical cancer and they don't have to die from it," Dr. Whitaker said as part of a cancer awareness effort. "Cervical cancer is preventable and curable if found early and treated. I'm urging women across Illinois to take charge of their health and schedule regular Pap tests."
The American Cancer Society estimates that 10,520 new cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed in 2004, including a projected 750 cases in Illinois, and about 3,900 women nationwide will die from the disease. From 1996 to 2000, there were 3,590 incidences of cervical cancer in Illinois; a rate of 11.4 cases per 100,000 women compared with the U.S. rate of 10.0. Over the past 15 years, the Illinois rate has declined from 12.8 in 1986-1990 to 11.7 in 1991-1995 to 11.4 in the most recent data available.
There is a wide disparity among races from 1996 to 2000 with the rate for white women 10.2 per 100,000 and the rate for black women 18.1 per 100,000. Nationally, the rate for white women is 9.4 and 14.5 for black women. Cervical cancer was once the number one cause of death from cancer in women. However, with the introduction of the Pap test, deaths from cervical cancer among American women have been reduced by approximately 70 percent.
For women between the ages of 35 and 64 who have no health insurance and limited income, Dr. Whitaker said the Department administers the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program, which provides annual Pap tests, pelvic exams, mammograms and breast exams at no cost.
For more information about the program, people can call the Department's Women's Health-Line at 888-522-1282 or 800-547-0466 for the hearing impaired.
The Pap test can detect abnormal cells in the cervix that may, over time, turn into cancer. Early treatment, however, can prevent cervical cancer from developing.
It is recommended that women begin having regular Pap tests and pelvic exams at age 18 or within three years of the first time they have sexual intercourse - whichever happens first. National guidelines recommend that after a woman has a Pap test each year for three years in a row, and test results show there are no problems, she can then get the Pap test once every 2-3 years. Women who have multiple sex partners should continue to have annual Pap tests.
Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is recognized as the primary cause of cervical cancer and is present in virtually all cases of cervical cancer. HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the United States and is usually harmless and temporary. A small percentage of women, however, may develop a high-risk HPV infection that may cause changes in the cervical cells.
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Editors note: Attached is a county-by-county listing of invasive cervical cancer cases and rates per 100,000 population, 1996-2000.
* Figures include invasive cancer. Incidence counts are five-year totals.
Rates are per 100,000 and are age-adjusted to the 2000 U.S. standard million population.
* SOURCE: Illinois Department of Public Health, Illinois State Cancer Registry, January 2003.
+ Invasive Cancer Incidence Counts United States: NPCR and SEER Registries that meet Quality Criteria. Data are from the area cancer registry that meet the following data quality criteria for the invasive cancer sites combined: case ascertainment is at least 90% complete; e 97% of cases pass a standard set of computerized edits; d 5% of cases were ascertained by death certificate only; d 3% of cases are missing information on sex; d 5% of cases are missing information on race; d 3% of cases are missing information on age. Case counts cover approximately 84% of the U.S. population.
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