What Women Should Know for Cervical Health Awareness Month

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While cervical cancer was once the leading cause of cancer-related deaths for women in the United States, it is now responsible for fewer than 5,000 deaths each year because of early diagnoses and more advanced treatment options . Still, this number could be lower if more women followed prevention and screening guidelines that have contributed to the sharp decline in cervical cancer deaths over the past four decades. During Cervical Health Awareness Month in January, be sure to share these important facts with the special women in your life so they know when to get screened.

HPV is the Primary Cause of Cervical Cancer

HPV is a very common sexually transmitted infection that has many different strains, most of which do not have distinctive symptoms. Certain strains of the virus are the leading cause of cervical cancer, but these can be avoided with the HPV vaccine. This vaccine is ideally administered before a woman becomes sexually active, but it may be given any time before the age of 26.

Healthy Women Should Have Screenings Every Three Years

Cervical cancer screening through Pap testing will identify abnormalities in the cells of the cervix before cancer is able to progress beyond its earliest stages. Older screening guidelines recommended Pap tests every year, but women who have normal results on their first screening can limit testing to once every three years. After the age of 30, women may consider to have HPV tests along with the Pap test.

Women Still Need Screening After Menopause

There is a misconception that post-menopausal women should not be screened for cervical cancer, but screening should typically continue until a woman is about 65 years old. You should always discuss your need for cancer screening with your doctor to be sure that you can safely discontinue Pap tests.

For preventive cancer screenings and superior oncologic care in Las Vegas, you can trust the Cancer Care Center of MountainView Hospital. To discover the screening and treatment technologies we utilize in our facilities, visit our website or call (702) 233-5474. 

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