Can you die from cervical cancer?

ASK AN EXPERT

[.highlighted] Q: Dear Teal, [.highlighted] It seems like cervical cancer is highly preventable, so I’m wondering — can you die from cervical cancer?

A: The good news is, you’re right — cervical cancer is highly preventable. In fact, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), when cervical cancer is detected and diagnosed at an early stage, the 5-year survival rate is 91 percent. But when cervical cancer has spread to distant areas of the body, that survival rate drops to 19 percent. This means that yes, tragically, thousands of women in the U.S. will die from cervical cancer this year. 

This makes it crucial to stay up-to-date on your cervical cancer screenings as it is the only way to know whether you are at risk of developing cervical cancer. It’s also devastating but important to note that Black women have twice the cervical cancer mortality rate compared to white women. Women of color are disproportionately less likely to be up to date on their cervical cancer screenings — and more likely to die from the disease. We can reduce both the inequality and unnecessary deaths by ensuring all women know how important it is to stay up to date on these life saving exams.

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Liz Swenson, MD
Medical Director

Liz Swenson is a board-certified OB/GYN who has been providing care to women for more than 20 years. She has learned that women are genuinely interested in their own health and want to understand the science behind their medical conditions. Originally from Iowa, she completed her medical training in Northern California where she still lives with her husband and two daughters. She has worked in a busy multispecialty practice in Palo Alto and has taught OBGYN residents as an Adjunct Clinical Faculty Member of Stanford University. Now, with a focus on helping all women have choices and access to the gynecological care they need, she is excited to use her clinical experience to help improve the lives and longevity of all Teal patients.