Cervical Cancer Awareness Month: Knowing the risks, prevention and treatments

Published: Jan. 22, 2021 at 8:19 AM EST
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month.

Each year, more than 350 women in North Carolina are diagnosed with cervical cancer and more than 100 die from it. The majority of these deaths are in women older than 45.

Dr. Grainger Lanneau, Chief Gynecology Oncology at Vidant Cancer Care says knowing the risk factors can help prevent your chances of being diagnosed.

He says HPV is the biggest risk factor when it comes to cervical cancer. Dr. Lanneau says factors related to your sexual history can increase your chances of being diagnosed.

Women who smoke are also about twice as likely as non-smokers to get cervical cancer because experts say tobacco by-products have been found in the cervical mucus of women who smoke. Researchers believe that these substances can damage the DNA of cervix cells and may result in the development of cervical cancer.

Economic status can also play role. Doctors say low-income women do not have easy access to adequate health care services, including cervical cancer screenings with Pap tests and HPV tests.

While a healthy diet, including fruits and vegetables, may lower your risks of being diagnosed with cervical cancer, the most important thing you can do to prevent cervical cancer is to get the HPV vaccine and be tested regularly, according to doctors.

If you are at risk and meet the requirements of a cervical cancer screening, talk to your medical provider. For more information, you can contact the Prevention Clinic at Vidant Cancer Care at (252) 816-7475.

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