Cervical Cancer Awareness

By Meghan Bailey on Jan 6, 2016

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, bringing attention to a medical issue that is both preventable and treatable, when caught early and treated properly.

Cervical cancer is a form of cancer that occurs in the cervix, the area of the reproductive system between the uterus and vagina. It occurs most frequently in women over 30 years of age, but all women are at risk of contracting it. Each year, 12,000 people in the United States will receive a cervical cancer diagnosis.

The Human Papillomavirus, or HPV almost always causes cervical cancer. Everyone can contract HPV, which is why the HPV vaccine series is recommended for everyone when they reach the age of 11 or 12 years old.

There are two different tests for detecting the early signs of cervical cancer: the Pap Test/Smear and the HPV Test. The Pap test is recommended starting at the age of 21 until 65 years old (after menopause). The Pap test checks for precancers, or cellular level changes, that could indicate the early signs of cancer. The HPV test can be used to search directly for the HPV virus that is so often the cause of cervical cancer. Both of these tests can be done in a doctor’s office or medical clinic. Talk to your doctor about cervical cancer testing and the HPV vaccine—prevention is an easy step to keep yourself healthy!