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New Study Reveals Cervical Cancer is on the Rise

Publication: KCEN-TV (NBC, Temple)

TEXAS, USA — A new study reveals cervical cancer rates are increasing among women in their 30s and 40s. 

The news comes as January is cervical cancer awareness month and across the country women, as well as health experts, are spreading awareness. Diagnosis among women ages 30 to 44 rose almost 2 percent a year from 2012 to 2019 and health experts told NBC news that most of the cancers in those age groups were early, curable tumors. 

In 2023, there were nearly 14,000 new cases of cervical cancer in the United States, according to Texas Oncology. Roughly 10 percent of those diagnosis are Texas women. 

The issue physicians are running into when trying to keep cervical cancer numbers down is less women are getting screened. Some doctors think it could be because of the change in guidelines for pap smears. 

Previously, women were advised to get them done annually, but now it's every three years and sometimes five years. 

"It's sort of hard to count by threes and it's very easy to kind of lose track of when your pap smear was and our guidelines are such that if it's done one way then it's a slightly different screening protocol," said Dr. Robert DeBernardo, Section Head Gynecologic Oncology for Cleveland Clinic. 

More than half of women diagnosed with cervical cancer have either never been screened or haven't been screened in the past five years, according to the CDC.  

Because cervical cancer remains the most common preventable cancer for women around the world, health experts can't stress enough the importance of screening. It's recommended women between the ages of 25 and 65 should be tested. 

Early stages of cervical cancer doesn't typically involve symptoms and can be hard to detect, one of the best preventative measures are pap tests. 

Texas Oncology reports that symptoms can develop overtime and they can include: 

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding 
  • ​Abnormal vaginal discharge 
  • Painful intercourse 
  • Post-menopausal bleeding 
  • Bleeding after intercourse 
  • Pain in the pelvic area 
  • Bleeding or spotting between periods 
  • ​Longer or heavier periods 

This coverage originally appeared in KCEN-TV (NBC, Temple).