Cervical Health Awareness Month
January is cervical health awareness month – let’s take time out this month to educate and spread awareness around cervical cancer to the important women in our lives. Cervical cancer is preventable with vaccination and appropriate screening. Find out steps you can take to prevent the disease below:
The HPV vaccine protects against the types of HPV that most commonly causes cervical cancers. HPV can also cause other cancers, in both men and women.
HPV vaccines are recommended for children ages 11-12 years old but can be given as early as 9.
HPV vaccines are also recommended for everyone through 26 years old- if not vaccinated yet.
HPV vaccines are not recommended for everyone older than 26 years old. Although, some people aged 27-45 years old who are not yet vaccinated may decide to get the vaccine if their doctor advises to do so.
HPV vaccines prevent new HPV infections but do not treat current diseases. This is why it is advised to get vaccinated as early as possible before exposure to HPV.
Pap tests, or sometimes called Pap smear, look for precancers. Precancers note cell changes on the cervix that might turn into cervical cancer if not treated.
HPV tests look for the virus that can cause these cell changes.
People are eligible for the pap test at age 21. If your test results are normal, you can wait a few years until your next one.
You can get a HPV test only, and if your results are normal, you can wait five years for your next test.
You can get your Pap test and HPV test together, if you results are normal, you can wait five years to do them again.
You can lower your risk for cervical cancer by getting regular checkups and screenings starting at age 21. If you have further questions regarding your cervical health, speak with your provider at your next appointment.