Lifewatch: Cervical Cancer

Reported by Claire Hosmann - email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - 11,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the United States every year, and 4,000 will die from it.

Doctors say early detection is an important part of prevention.

Girls Scouts may be an unlikely audience for a discussion about cervical cancer, but Allison Hicks, a cancer survivor, is trying to spread the word about ways to prevent the disease.

"I had no idea that this type of cancer existed," said Hicks who was diagnosed three years ago.  "They could physically see tumors all over my cervix, rushed to the ER to do a bunch of testing and within five days I had a radical hysterectomy."

She learned that cervical cancer is caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) which is sexually transmitted.

The American Cancer Society recommends women be screened with a pap test within three years of becoming sexually active, and no later than the age of 21.

A vaccine called Gardasil is now being offered to girls as young as 9, to help protect them against cervical cancer.

It may be too help Hicks, but it's not too late for her to educated others.  She started her own foundation called

Scientists are continually working on a vaccine to protect women in a larger age bracket than that of Gardasil which targets women from 9 to 26.

For more information about Gardasil, click here.