It's a highly preventable form of cancer, yet it will kill about 230 women in Illinois this year; it's cervical cancer. State leaders are hoping to reduce that number and save lives.
A new 12-member task force has been created to educate us on how to fight cervical cancer. The number one weapon, they say, a yearly pap test.
While no one from Rockford is on the new task force, doctors and nurses here are still spreading the message. Judy Williamson, an oncology clinical nurse specialist at St. Anthony, encourages women to schedule their pap tests yearly.
While there are not many symptoms of cervical cancer, those with the human papilloma virus, or genital warts, are most likely to get the disease, but if diagnosed early, cervical cancer is usually not deadly.
Williamson suggests women start getting pap tests at age 21, unless they're sexually active at an earlier age.