Nearly 13,000 women in the US are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, but the disease is virtually always preventable with vaccination and appropriate screening from your OBGYN or family physician.
Human Papillomavirus, or HPV, is a sexually transmitted infection causing 70% of cervical cancers. HPV vaccines can help prevent infection from high-risk HPV types leading to cervical cancer. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends all boys and girls, ages 11 through 14, receive the HPV vaccine as it produces a stronger immune response during these years. For this reason, only two doses of the vaccine are required. The vaccine is also available to males and females ages 15 through 45, however, three doses are required for the full preventative effect.
Since women are at a higher risk for cervical cancer, it is recommended you see your physician for a pap test. These tests can find changes to the cells in the cervix caused by HPV and help healthcare providers know which women are at a higher risk for cervical cancer. For women over 30, it is recommended you receive either one, or both, pap and HPV tests.
Please ask your health care provider how often you should be screened, and which tests are right for you.
At Central Counties Health Centers, we offer both HPV vaccines and pap tests. For more information call (217) 788-2300.