The cervical cancer death rate is half what it was four decades ago, and cervical cancer screening is one of the main reasons for this decrease. The Pap test detects cancer when it is most treatable, and can even detect pre-cancers in cervical cells. Screening is essential to ensuring good cervical health.
Decrease your risk for cervical cancer
Cervical cancer is highly preventable. Human papillomavirus is the most common cause of cervical cancer, and vaccinating against HPV can significantly decrease your risk for developing cervical cancer.
Screening for HPV and for changes in cervical cells is also very beneficial for cervical health.
Cervical cancer doesn’t usually cause noticeable symptoms. This is why screening is so important. Screening is the only effective way to detect cervical cancer. It helps detect pre-cancers and cancers that are still small and treatable.
How often should you get a cervical cancer screening?
The American College of Gynecology recommends that all women between the ages of 21 and 29 have a Pap test every 3 years.
The ACOG also recommends that women between the ages of 30 to 65 have a Pap test and an HPV test every 5 years.
Of course, women who are at a high risk for cervical cancer may need more frequent screenings. Your doctor can help you determine what’s right for you.
Talk to your gynecologist
Whether you need to vaccinate against HPV, you’ve never had a Pap test, or it’s simply time for your annual well woman visit, you should talk to your gynecologist. Women’s health needs are different than men’s health needs. Doctors that specialize in gynecology are trained specifically to offer guidance, treatment, and counseling for women’s healthcare throughout every stage in a woman’s life.