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Cervical Cancer

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

Cervical Cancer is caused by cancerous cells in the cervix that become invasive and break through the lining of the uterus. When detected early, the cancer is almost always curable.

What Causes Cervical Cancer?

Almost all Cervical Cancer is caused by the Human Papillomavirus, or HPV. HPV is an extremely common virus effecting over 20 million people in the United States. Approximately 80% of sexually active women have contracted at least one strain of genital HPV by age 30. A majority of the new cancer cases are detected in women ages 35-55.

Other Factors that can increase your risk:

  • Not getting routine pap smears. Most new cases of cancer that are found in the advanced stage are diagnosed in women that have not been getting routine pap tests.
  • Beginning sexual intercourse at an early age.
  • Having multiple sexual partners.
  • Smoking cigarettes and tobacco products.
  • Having the cancer before.
  • Having a weakened immune system and/or and HIV infection.

How Can I Protect Against Cervical Cancer?

One of the best ways you can protect against cervical cancer is by keeping on top of your routine pap smears. During a pap smear, your physician will collect cell samples from your cervix to be analyzed at a lab. Screenings are done on your cells to check for abnormalities, and precancerous cells. Because cervical cancer is curable in the early stages, it is so important to have a pap smear done every 3 years to prevent and catch it early.

Other Ways to Protect Yourself:

  • Coming in for your annual exams.
  • Getting a routine pap smear every 3 years, beginning at age 21.
  • Following up on abnormal test results. If your pap smear comes back abnormal, your physician will likely recommend for you to take an HPV test to help better diagnose what’s going on.
  • Getting the HPV vaccine. At FPA Women’s Health we are proud to offer the 3-series Gardasil Vaccine. Gardasil protects against the 2 most common and dangerous types of HPV, and is recommended for girls between ages 9-26.

The Facts on Cervical Cancer and American Women

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