Cervical cancer starts in the lower part of the uterus (womb). There is a lot you can do to lower your chance of having this kind of cancer. Tests done by your doctor can find early changes that may lead to cancer or find the condition in the early stages.
Most cervical cancers are caused by HPV (human papilloma virus). This virus causes genital warts. HPV can be passed from person to person even when there are no visible warts or other symptoms.
Practicing safer sex can help lower your risk of getting HPV and cervical cancer:
Vaccines to Prevent Cervical Cancer
- Always use male or female condoms. But be aware that condoms cannot
fully protect you.
- Have only one sexual partner who you know does not have the infection.
- Cigarette smoking increases the risk of getting cervical cancer.
- Two vaccines are available that protect against HPV that causes cervical cancer in women.
- The vaccines are suggested for both males and females ages 9 through 26.
- Cervical cancer usually grows slowly and can be spotted by a medical test called a Pap smear.
- Pap smear screening should start at age 21.
- It is important for women to get regular Pap smears.
Talk with your doctor about whether you should get the HPV vaccine and how often you should have a Pap smear.
Sources: American Academy of Pediatrics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, American Cancer Society, American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology, American Society for Clinical Pathology, ADAM (www.ccok.com)