If you’re a woman between the ages of 21 to 65, talk with your health care provider about cervical cancer screening.
A cervical cancer screening can help prevent cancer (by detecting cells before they become cancer) or find it early on. Most cervical cancer is caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is passed between persons through sex and often has no signs or symptoms. For most people, HPV resolves without treatment, but the infection can last longer and cause certain types of cancer, including cervical. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), when detected early, cervical cancer is highly treatable and associated with long survival and good quality of life.
Most women ages 21-30 should have a Pap test every three years. For those age 30 and above, both Pap and HPV tests are recommended every five years. Your provider may recommend more frequent testing depending on screening results. If your cervical cancer screening results are normal, you may not need another screening for several years. You should still see your health care provider or gynecologist regularly for preventive care.
Prevent cervical and other HPV-related cancers
Women through the age of 26 are eligible to receive the HPV vaccine if they did not receive the series when they were younger. Parents should strongly consider vaccinating eligible children against HPV before they become sexually active. For more information about the vaccine, timing of administration(s), and risks/benefits, talk to your health care provider.