Cervical cancer – caused by the sexually transmitted human papilloma virus (HPV) – affects nearly 13,000 women in the U.S. each year. There are usually no signs or symptoms of early cervical cancer, but the good news is that it can be detected early with regular screening.
When to Screen for Cervical Cancer
All women, ages 21 and older, should know how and when to get tested for cervical cancer. The following screening guidelines are helpful:
What about the HPV vaccine?
The HPV vaccine protects against the types of HPV that cause cervical cancer. Vaccination is recommended for preteen girls and boys aged 11 to 12 years old, but can be given starting at age 9. It is also recommended for everyone up to 26 years old, if they are not vaccinated already.
It's important to understand that HPV vaccines do not replace cervical cancer screening.
Is it time for your cervical cancer screen test?
Cervical cancer was once one of the most common causes of cancer death in American women. However, with the increased use of Pap tests, the death rate has significantly dropped. That's why all women between ages 21 and 65 must schedule their cervical cancer screenings on time. Early detection saves lives.