Cervical Cancer Awareness
Learn the Facts and Get Screened
What is Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer is cancer of the cervix. The cervix is the part of the uterus (womb) that opens into the vagina. The best way to protect yourself from cervical cancer is to get regular Pap tests.
A Pap test helps find changes in the cervix that may lead to cancer. This test is easily done in your doctor’s office. Your doctor will take a small sample of cells from your cervix. These cells are then sent to a lab. Pap tests are safe and only take a few minutes. Finding cervix cell changes early with a Pap test can save your life. Cervical cancer is rare in women who get regular screening tests.
In general, all women 21-64 years of age should have a Pap test every three years. However, each woman’s health care needs are different. Women ages 30-64 can get tested every five years if they get both a Pap Test and a HPV test. Most women over age 65 do not need a screening. Talk to your doctor about when and how often you should have a Pap test.
Most cervical cancers are caused by a virus called HPV. HPV stands for human papillomavirus. HPV is a group of viruses that spread through sexual contact. HPV can cause changes in the cervix that may become cancer. Testing for cervical cancer can find these changes early and prevent them from becoming cancer.
An HPV test looks for the types of HPV most likely to cause cervical cancer. The HPV test is similar to a Pap test and can be done at the same time.