The bad news: Each year more than 350 North Carolina women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and over 100 die from the condition. The majority of these deaths occur in women over age 45. The good news: When cervical cancer is found early, it is highly treatable.

Certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV) is the main cause of cervical cancer. HPV is a common virus that is passed from one person to another during sex. At least half of sexually active people will have HPV at some point in their lives, but few women will get cervical cancer.

Some warning signs of cervical cancer are:

Abnormal vaginal bleeding
Increased vaginal discharge
Pelvic pain
Pain during sexual intercourse

Cervical cancer occurs most often in people over age 30 and can affect anyone with a cervix.

Screening tests and the HPV vaccine can help prevent cervical cancer.

See the CDC’s wealth of information on cervical cancer here.