January is Cervical Health Awareness Month. In the United States an estimated 14,000 new cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed and an estimated 4,280 women will die from cervical cancer. The death rate for cervical cancer has dropped significantly over the years due to preventable tests and screenings. The preventable tests and screenings are:
The Pap test: The pap test is a procedure where a small brush is used to gently remove cells from the surface of the cervix and the area around it. The cells are then checked under a microscope for cervical cancer. Starting at age 21, it is recommended women have a pap test every 3 years.
HPV test: The HPV test detects for the presence of human papillomavirus, which is a virus that causes cervical cancer.
The pap test and HPV test can be received at the same time. Cervical cancer is most common in women between the ages 35 and 44. It is important to get tested regularly to prevent cervical cancer. The pap test and HPV tests results can show if you are at risk for developing cervical cancer. If find out you are at risk, your healthcare provider may recommend more tests, follow up-visits, and possible procedures to treat pre-cancers that are found. It is important to talk to your healthcare provider about all cervical cancer preventive measures and tests results.
For more information on cervical health awareness, visit The American Cancer Society (cancer.org).
1. The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team. “Key Statistics for Cervical Cancer.” American Cancer Society, American Cancer Society, https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cervical-cancer/about/key-statistics.html#written_by.