The words “cervical cancer” can be very scary, but the prognosis for cervical cancer can vary depending on many different factors. Preventative measures and early screening methods can play a big role in improving cervical cancer outcomes, and new treatments are being developed everyday.
So, what is the cervical cancer survival rate? Keep reading to find out at STDWatch.com.
What is the cervical cancer survival rate?
Thanks to the HPV vaccine and early screening methods, the rates of cervical cancer have decreased rapidly in many parts of the world. However, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), cervical cancer is still the fourth most common type of cancer affecting women around the world.
According to information provided by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the 5-year survival rate for all patients with cervical cancer is 66 percent. However, the prognosis for cervical cancer will vary greatly depending on the stage of the disease.
Keep in mind that the term “5-year survival rate” doesn’t mean that patients only live 5 years after their diagnosis; instead, this rate represents the percentage of people who are alive 5 years after they are diagnosed — including those who live for many years beyond that.
Cervical cancer survival rate by stage
Below are the cervical cancer 5-year survival rates by stage in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute. This classification doesn’t categorize cervical cancer in 5 stages, but according to a different staging method, which includes:
- Localized cervical cancer
- Regional cervical cancer
- Distant cervical cancer
Let’s look at the survival rates for each of these stages of cervical cancer.
Localized cervical cancer survival rate
Cervical cancer is considered to be localized in its early stages, when the cancerous cells haven’t spread outside of the cervix or uterus. Cancer is most treatable during this stage, which is why it has the highest survival rate.
The 5-year survival rate for localized cervical cancer is 92 percent.
Regional cervical cancer survival rate
Regional cervical cancer has spread outside the uterus, but only to nearby lymph nodes.
The 5-year survival rate for regional cervical cancer is 58 percent.
Distant cervical cancer survival rate
Distant cervical cancer occurs when the cancer has spread or metastasized to nearby organs, like the bladder, or distant organs in the body, such as the lungs or bones.
The 5-year survival rate for distant cervical cancer is 17 percent.
How to prevent cervical cancer
When cervical cancer is diagnosed early, it is one of the most treatable types of cancer and has a very good prognosis. In fact, many women who are diagnosed with precancerous cervical changes and receive treatment never progress to cervical cancer and go on to live healthy, long lives.
But it’s important to take preventative measures to lower the risk of a late diagnosis. Fortunately, there are many strategies that can help us prevent cervical cancer or catch it in its earliest stages, including:
- HPV vaccination. This is the most effective and simplest way to prevent future HPV infection. According to the CDC, HPV infections have decreased by up to 86 percent in females after this vaccine was approved. HPV can cause genital warts and cervical cancer, so fewer cases of HPV also mean fewer cases of these conditions.
- Safe sex. Keep in mind that no vaccine is effective 100 percent of the time, and that these vaccines can’t protect you against all HPV strains or other STDs. HPV can be transmitted through intimate skin-to-skin contact — even without penetrative sex — and oral sex, so it’s important to use methods such as condoms and dental dams to keep yourself protected from this virus and many other STDs.
- Regular Pap smears. The CDC recommends that all sexually active women should start getting regular Pap smears at the age of 21. Pap smears are the best method to diagnose early precancerous changes in your cervix, which can give your doctor plenty of time to treat them before they turn malignant.
- Treating precancerous lesions. If your Pap tests results aren’t normal, your doctor will guide you through different options for treatment. Some precancerous cervical cells, also known as cervical dysplasia, go away on their own; however, it’s always necessary to receive adequate follow-up to determine whether removal is necessary.
A cancer diagnosis is very scary, but it’s important to remember that modern therapies have made this disease much easier to treat and cure than it was in the past. However, the best way to treat cervical cancer is to prevent it through methods such as HPV vaccination and early screening methods. Getting tested for HPV and other STDs is easier than ever thanks to at-home STD test kits, and an early diagnosis can help ensure your future health. You can learn more about at-home STDtesting at STDWatch.com.