Why get screened?
Regular check-ups and cancer screenings are important
to your health and could save your life. Women should get regular
screenings for breast and cervical cancer.
Get a Pap test and
pelvic exam regularly
||When women get regular pelvic exams and Pap
tests, abnormal cells on the cervix can be detected and removed
before the cells are cancerous.
||A Pap test is also the best way to find cervical cancer
early so that it can be treated successfully. Through the Pap
test, a health care provider can check for abnormal cells and
cancer cells on the cervix. When cancer is found early, most
women can be cured without having a hysterectomy.
||Risk of developing cervical cancer increases with age,
especially in women past childbearing years. Pap tests are
important because a woman usually doesn't have any signs or
symptoms of cervical cancer.
Get a mammogram and clinical
breast exam regularly
||As women age, the risk of getting breast cancer
also increases. Most women diagnosed with breast cancer have no
known risk factors other than age.
||Regular screening mammograms are the best method available
to detect breast cancer early, when it is most treatable. A
mammogram can find breast cancer before a lump can be felt. In
some cases, finding a breast tumor early may mean that a woman
can choose surgery that saves her breast, or she may not need
||Regular mammography screening can save lives. Research
estimates show that if 10,000 women age 50 were screened every
year for 10 years, about 37 lives would be saved.
||The most thorough breast screening combines mammography and
clinical breast exam. A breast exam by a doctor or nurse can
find some cancers missed by mammography.
Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening:
Preventing Unnecessary Death Among Women
In the next 10 years, an estimated two million
American women will be diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer and
half a million women will lose their lives to these diseases.
Many of these deaths could be avoided by making
screening services available to all at-risk women. Such screening
measures could prevent about one-third of all deaths from breast
cancer among women older than age 40 and virtually all deaths from
Excluding skin cancer, breast cancer is the most
common cancer among American women and is second only to lung cancer
as a cause of cancer-related death. An estimated 192,370 new cases
of invasive breast cancer among women will be diagnosed in 2009 and
women will die of this disease.
The incidence of invasive cervical cancer has
decreased steadily over the past decades, in large part because of
early detection efforts. Even so, an estimated 11,270 new cases of
invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed in 2009, and 4,070 women
will die of this disease.
In most cases, the earlier breast cancer is detected,
the better the survival rate. When breast cancer is diagnosed in its
earliest stages, the five-year survival rate is 98 percent. When
breast cancer is diagnosed after it has spread, the five-year
survival rate decreases to 26 percent.
Cervical cancer screening also offers great benefits.
For a woman found to have precancerous cervical lesions or to have
cancer in its earliest state, the likelihood of survival is almost
100 percent with timely and appropriate treatment and follow-up.
Benefits of Screening
Mammography is the best way to detect breast cancer in
its earliest, most treatable stage -- an average of 1.7 years before
the woman can feel the lump. Mammography also locates cancer too
small to be felt during a clinical breast examination.
The primary purpose of cervical cancer screening --
which is performed by a Papanicolaou (Pap) test -- is not to detect
cancer but to find precancerous lesions. Detection and treatment of
such lesions actually can prevent cervical cancer.