Tips for protecting yourself against cervical cancer

January 19, 2023 / Molina Healthcare

Tips for protecting yourself against cervical cancer

More than 12,000 women in the United States each year are diagnosed with cervical cancer. And nearly 4,000 will die as a result.

Almost all cervical cancer is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). There is an HPV vaccine available that protects against the types of HPV that can cause cervical cancers. HPV vaccines prevent new HPV infections. But, they do not treat existing infections or diseases. It’s best to get the vaccine before any exposure to HPV. Talk to your doctor about the HPV vaccine to see if it’s an option for you.

The HPV and Pap tests are screening tests to help find cervical cancer early.

The HPV test looks for the virus that causes cell changes on the cervix. The Pap test, or Pap smear, looks for precancers, which are cell changes on the cervix that might turn into cervical cancer if not appropriately treated.

To lower your cervical cancer chances, start getting regular screenings at age 21. If your Pap test results are normal, your doctor might tell you that you can wait three years to get your next test. But only do that if your doctor tells you to.

If you’re between 30 and 65 years old, you have three testing options:

  • An HPV test only. If your test result is normal, your doctor might tell you that you can wait five years until your next screening test.
  • An HPV test and a Pap test. If both results are normal, your doctor might tell you that you can wait five years until your next tests.
  • A Pap test only. If your result is normal, your doctor might tell you that you can wait five years until your next screening test.

If you’re older than 65, your doctor could tell you that you don’t need any further screenings if:

  • Your test results have been normal for several years
  • You have not had a cervical precancer in the past
  • You have had your cervix removed as part of a total hysterectomy for noncancerous conditions, like fibroids

Protect yourself. Get vaccinated if you qualify.  Get tested for cervical cancer today.

 

Category: Disease / Immunizations