Back before the 1940s when George Papanicolaou, a Greek pathologist, developed the pap smear, cervical cancer was a leading cause of death among women in the United States. But even though we are better at catching precancerous cells with pap smears, around 4,000 women die in this country each year from cervical cancer.
Almost all cases of cervical cancer are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which also causes genital warts, and some types of penile, anal and mouth cancers. If we can stop HPV, we can stop most cases of cervical cancer and other serious and problematic diseases. With the HPV vaccine, we are well on our way to doing that.
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Written by Amy Rogers
Edited by Bliss Mishler