Act to prevent cervical cancer

It’s never too late to learn about preventing cervical cancer. Each year over 12,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with this condition, the second most common cancer in women worldwide. Over 500,000 new cases are diagnosed globally every year.

how to prevent cervical cancer

Know the risks for cervical cancer, and what you can do to lessen them.

Fortunately, widespread use of the Pap test to detect and treat abnormal cells in the cervix has led to a decline in cervical cancer deaths. Yet more than 4,000 women still die from this preventable disease annually.

So what can women do to protect themselves from cervical cancer? Here are four health tips.

Get a Pap test.

The Pap test, commonly performed as part of a woman’s routine preventative exam, is a proven means to identify abnormal or precancerous changes in the cells of the cervix. If abnormal cells are present – also called cervical dysplasia – your healthcare provider will closely monitor your cervix and possibly do treatment to prevent further cell changes that could become cancerous over time if left unchecked.

Consider the HPV test.

In women 30 years of age and older, the HPV test may also be performed by your health care provider to identify any of the high-risk types of human papilloma virus (HPV) that are most commonly found in cervical cancer. Some 80 million Americans currently have HPV, the most common sexually transmitted infection and a major cause of cervical cancer.

Get vaccinated.

HPV vaccines are recommended for girls and boys at age 11 to 12 years old. In addition, HPV vaccines are also recommended for teen boys and girls who didn’t get the vaccine when they were younger, teen girls and young women through age 26, as well as teen boys and young men through age 21. Most HPV infections don’t cause any symptoms, and go away on their own. However, being vaccinated before exposure to the HPV virus helps protect women against cervical cancer and the precancerous lesions that precede it.

Further reduce your chances of getting an HPV infection.

For sexually active women, condoms – when used correctly and regularly – may lower the risk of HPV. Other factors that have been reported as contributing to cervical cancer include smoking, multiple sexual partners, and certain other sexually transmitted infections.

Be well, stay well!

~ Pharmacist Andy

  • Jennine

    After being married for 18 years (and divorced for 2 years) I was diagnosed with stage 3 cervical cancer. I just want to say that just because you are married don’t think it can’t happen to you. You never know for sure how faithful your partner will be. Being married is no guarantee that it can’t happen. Be your best friend and look out for yourself!

  • carrie

    Before you get vaccinated, research the risks and read about which types of cancers the makers claim are protected by the vaccine. You would be surprised to learn it it only covers a couple types, and they are extremely uncommon in several ethnic groups. So don’t assume it is beneficial just because the CDC recommends it as a one size fits all drug.

  • Carrie

    I have HPV and when I found out I was devestated…found out at age 50…and was a newlywed whose new husband may or may not have been the carrier…his late wife died of cervical cancer and I had not had a pap in over 8 years prior to our marriage…my doctor says it was possible I was exposed by him or it could gave just been dormant jn my body for years…I have had the LEAP procedure done and get rechecked every 4 months. ..last two screenings have been negative which is a blessing…I had partners before him and wasnt as careful as I should have been and now must live with its consequences…both my husband and I do. The toughest part of it is the shame I feel…I know that I am not the “town tramp” but all it takes is one time to have one’s health put in jeopardy…

    • Jennine

      Please do not feel shame! That is an emotion you are taken on by the society we live in. I was faithful for 18 + years. I never would have thought at 40 I would have had to deal with it either. You need to just love yourself and live life to the fullest without having any bad feelings about what anybody else thinks. As far as I am concerned it it still CANCER and a battle you had to fight! Be strong and take care of YOU.

  • Doris

    No pap after 65-not good