Cervical cancer is the easiest gynecologic cancer to prevent, with regular screening tests and follow-up. Two screening tests can help prevent cervical cancer or find it early—the Pap test and the HPV test. Both are simple, relatively quick procedures. And both can drastically lower a woman’s risk for getting cervical cancer. Nearly all cervical cancers are caused by HPV, a common sexually transmitted infection. That’s why it’s so important to get tested. Women 26 years of age and under should also be vaccinated against HPV.
Who should get screened?
- Women age 21 to 65 should get a Pap test every three years.
- Women age 30 to 65 who want to lengthen the time between screenings can also get a combination screening (Pap test and HPV test) every five years.
In honor of Cervical Cancer Awareness Month this January, take the first step in protecting yourself from cervical cancer — call your doctor to see if it’s time to get your screening. You can also help a loved one by encouraging her to get regular cervical cancer screenings.
Visit You, first! to watch Dr. Guido, an OB/GYN expert at Magee Women’s Hospital, share information on the importance of screening.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/cervical/basic_info/screening.htm