The Importance of Cervical Cancer Screening
posted by The Live Better Team | April 19, 2018
The American Cancer Society estimates that doctors will diagnose over 13,000 new cases of invasive cervical cancer in 2018.
Most cases of cervical cancer are caused by a sexually transmitted virus called human papillomavirus (HPV), but other factors increase your risk of cervical cancer including:
The good news is that as many as “93 percent of cervical cancers could be prevented by screening and HPV vaccination”.
Regular screenings are key to preventing not only cervical cancer but also many other types of cancer. Cervical cancer is especially treatable when detected in its earlier stages through a screening called the Pap test (or Pap smear).
What is a Pap test?
A Pap test is simple, and your doctor can perform this test during a routine pelvic exam. To do so, your doctor will insert a device (called a speculum) through the vaginal canal to see your cervix. Then, using a special brush or stick, s/he will collect cells from the cervix to be examined in a lab.
How does it help prevent cervical cancer?
Regular Pap testing is the most important thing you can do to prevent cervical cancer. Pap tests detect precancerous cells in the cervix, which can be treated before cancer ever develops. In fact, most invasive cancers are found in women who have not had regular Pap testing.
Depending on your age and medical history, the frequency with which you should get a Pap test may differ. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends the following guidelines:
Talk to your doctor about how often you should be screened.
Are There Exceptions?
Some women need to be screened more often. If you experience the following health conditions, you may want to talk to your doctor about more frequent screenings:
You may not need regular Pap tests if you have had a hysterectomy with no residual cervix, and you can stop cervical cancer screening if you are over the age of 65 and:
Doctors also recommend not scheduling a Pap test if you are currently on your period. Your doctor can offer additional information about when you should be screened and how to prepare.
Obstetricians/gynecologists at Revere Health OB/GYN provide a full range of healthcare services to women throughout all stages of their lives including; puberty, child-bearing years, menopause.
“CT scan (How you prepare).” The Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/ct-scan/basics/how-you-prepare/prc-20014610
“Positron emission tomography scan (How you prepare).” The Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/pet-scan/details/how-you-prepare/ppc-20319717
“MRI (How you prepare).” The Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/mri/details/how-you-prepare/ppc-20235719
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.