This Cervical Health Awareness Month Get Screened, Vaccinated
January ushers in a new year and also Cervical Health Awareness Month —
a perfect reminder about important steps you can take to prevent cervical cancer.
Each year more than 13,000 women in the U.S. get cervical cancer, and about
4,250 don’t survive. Yet cervical cancer is one of the few cancers
that’s almost totally preventable with screening and HPV (human
HPV is the Top Cause of Cervical Cancer
HPV, a common virus that spreads through sexual activity, causes almost
all cases of cervical cancer. In fact, about 80 percent of sexually active
people — both men and women — become infected at some point
in their lives, but most don’t even know they have the virus.
Besides cervical cancer, HPV can also lead to anal, penile, vaginal, vulvar
and oropharyngeal cancers.
Regular Pap and HPV Tests Can Prevent Cervical Cancer
You can prevent cervical cancer through regular screening tests, which
- Pap test, also called Pap smear
- HPV test
A Pap test, which is usually done in conjunction with a pelvic exam, can
help detect abnormal or changed cells early on, before they turn into
cancer. If detected early, cervical cancer is one of the most successfully
In women older than 30 years, the Pap test may be combined with a test
for the HPV virus. In some cases, the HPV test may be done instead of
a Pap test.
HPV Vaccination Also Prevents Cancer
HPV vaccines help prevent infection that causes most cervical cancers.
That is why the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends pre-teens
get the HPV vaccine at age 11 or 12, as the vaccine produces a stronger
immune response when taken during this time. This is also an age when
children are still seeing their doctor regularly and getting other vaccinations.
CDC recommends two doses of HPV vaccine for all adolescents at age 11
or 12 years.
HPV vaccination is also recommended through age 26 for females and males
who were not vaccinated when younger.
Take These Simple Cancer-Preventing Steps Now!
Now is a perfect time to check in with your health care provider:
Women ages 21 and older, schedule your annual gynecologic exam or find out whether you’re
due for a Pap test.
Young adults ages 13 to 26, if not already vaccinated, get catch-up HPV vaccines to protect yourself
from future cancer-causing HPV infections.
Parents of pre-teens, make sure your pre-teen gets the HPV vaccine at age 11 or 12.
Please call 303-415-4015 to make an appointment with a BCH provider for
a gynecologic visit, a cervical cancer screening or to schedule HPV vaccination.