SPRINGFIELD – In recognition of Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, Dr. Damon T. Arnold, Illinois Department of Public Health Director, is urging women over the age of 21 to be screened regularly for cervical cancer.
“Almost every cervical cancer death is preventable through early detection, treatment and follow-up. Families and friends don’t have to lose loved ones to cervical cancer and women don’t have to suffer if they take care of themselves and routinely get screened for cervical cancer,” Dr. Arnold said.
According to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition, about 10,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year and about 3,700 women die each year from this disease.
The latest data for Illinois shows in 2006, 572 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer. That same year, 173 women died of cervical cancer. In 2010, it is estimated that 610 women in Illinois will be diagnosed with cervical cancer and approximately 180 women will die.
“Increasing awareness of cervical cancer and preventive steps women can take is extremely important. Regular exercise, a healthy diet and routine screenings are proactive efforts women can take that may reduce the risk of developing cancer. Avoiding risk factors for cancer, like smoking, may also help reduce the chances of developing cancer. However, there are other factors, such as genetics, that cannot be avoided. Women need to educate themselves about cervical cancer and what they can do to stay healthy,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Office of Women’s Health Deputy Director Shannon Lightner.