A Preventable Cancer

updated 04/06/2009 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/06/2009 01:00AM

Dr. Mark H. Einstein, a gynecologic oncologist at N.Y.C.'s Albert Einstein College of Medicine and chairman of the National Cervical Cancer Public Education Campaign, answers questions about the disease that killed Goody:

Is cervical cancer preventable?
It is probably one of the most preventable cancers. Precancerous cells known to be precursors can be picked up with a Pap test and pelvic exam. But screening isn't perfect, so it's good to do things like the [HPV] vaccine before the onset of sexual activity.

What are the symptoms?
It usually presents with irregular bleeding.

Can this cancer be cured?
In early stages it is very curable. It usually requires surgery and sometimes radiation with some chemotherapy.

Who is at risk?
If you have sex, you're at risk, which is why it's important to go for regular screening. Most U.S. cases of cervical cancer involve women who haven't had a Pap in over five years.

For more info, see www.cervicalcancercampaign.org

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