January is Cervical Health Awareness Month. This month is a chance to raise awareness and inform women about how they can protect themselves from HPV (human papillomavirus) and cervical cancer. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease and it's also a major cause of cervical cancer.
Did you know?
- New Pap smear screening technology (liquid based testing) has become available. These new technologies provide greater sensitivity to detect precancer and cancer.
- Current evidence shows that HPV (Human Papillomavirus) causes cervical cancer. Research demonstrates that most young women will clear cervical HPV without intervention.
- Cervical cancer is a slow growing cancer, often taking many years to develop.
- Begin screening by Pap smear at age 21
- Ages 21-29 - Pap smear every 3 years
- Ages 30-65 – Pap smear every 3 years or preferably Pap smear with HPV test (co-testing) every 5 years
- Stop testing at age 65 (except for special circumstances)
- Stop testing in women who have had a hysterectomy (removal of uterus and cervix) (except for special circumstances)