Cervical cancer summit held in Houston

HOUSTON - According to the Texas Cancer Registry, Harris County has the highest cervical cancer rate in the U.S.

Tuesday, MD Anderson Cancer Center hosted the second annual Cervical Cancer Summit at the United Way on Waugh on Tuesday.

Despite the decline in cervix cancer cases and deaths over the last decade, the rates have remained high for Hispanics and African Americans.

Most cases of cervical cancer are caused by the Human Papillomavirus. HPV is a sexually-transmitted disease that can be prevented with a vaccine. Eighty percent of the population will be exposed to HPV at some point in their lifetime and, in most cases, the body can fight off the virus.

But, in cases where the virus lingers in the body, cervical cancer can form.

Dr. Lois Ramondetta said the disease is preventable, screenable and treatable, yet women continue to die from cervical cancer.

The reason is linked to lack of medical screening.

According to the Texas Cancer Registry, Texas has one of the lowest rates of cervical cancer screening in the nation.

HPV vaccines are recommended for girls and boys beginning at age 11 and can be given to adults as old as 26.

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