January: Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer used to be one of the most common causes for cancer death in the US. Between 1955 and 1992, the death rate dropped by almost 70% because of increased Pap tests. This screening procedure can find changes in the cervix before cancer develops, and find cervical cancer early - in its most curable stage.
The most important risk factor for cervical cancer is an infection by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Other risk factors include:
- Chlamydia Infection
- Oral Contraceptives (birth control pills)
- Intrauterine device use
- Multiple full-term pregnancies
- Young age at the first full-term pregnancy
- Diethylstilbestrol (DES- a hormonal drug used between 1940-1971)
- Family history of cervical cancer.