How Tall Is The Average 15 Year Old American Girl Which Age Group Is Most Severely Affected by Cervical Cancer?

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Which Age Group Is Most Severely Affected by Cervical Cancer?

Commonly known as slow growing cancer; Cervical cancer develops in the tissues between the uterus and the vagina, where it usually shows very few signs or symptoms of its presence. It is usually detected only with a cervical smear (examination of cervical tissue [Pap test]), which has been responsible for reducing cervical cancer mortality by approximately 70% since 1955.

About 90% of all cervical cancers are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection; although it is commonly accepted that most women will have the virus during their lifetime (having the virus does not mean it will cause cancer). Two types (strains) of human papillomavirus: 16 and 18 are responsible for approximately 70% of diagnosed cases. Other factors that can trigger infection include: early sexual activity, multiple sexual partners, giving birth to more than two or three children, and smoking.

HPV is commonly found in women aged 18 – 59; where it is estimated that approximately 25% of this age group will have HPV and 15% of this age group will have a high-risk strain. Although this age range can be further narrowed down to 20-24 year olds who are even more at risk.

Studies show that the overall average age of a woman diagnosed with cervical cancer is 48, with the possibility of developing the disease increasing with age (up to 55 [48 – 55 years]). Risks begin to decrease significantly after age 55 (approximately 50% of cervical cancer cases are diagnosed in women aged 35-54 and 15% in women under 35).

Cervical cancer mortality is higher between ages 45-70 (black women in their 70s are 50% more likely to die from cervical cancer than white women of the same age). This is why screening for the disease is important, as between 60% – 80% of American women diagnosed with the disease typically have not been screened in the 5 years prior to their diagnosis (some women have never been tested).

An HPV vaccine (assumed to be 100% effective against the two strains of HPV responsible for 70% of diagnosed cases) is now available, usually targeting both girls and women between the ages of 9 and 26 before becoming sexually active; although sexual activity usually began many years before the age of 26. Information regarding the HPV vaccine is available at most local family health clinics.

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