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Cervical Cancer Prevention

Today, cervical cancer is a preventable illness because of the HPV vaccine. The HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine, which is given in 2 doses, targets 9 different types of the virus. The Food and Drug Administration has approved the vaccine to be given at age 9 and recommends it for preteen boys and girls at age 11 or 12. At this age, children have a higher immune response to the vaccine. The FDA has also approved the vaccine for individuals through the age of 45. The vaccine protects against HPV types that most commonly cause anal, cervical, head and neck, penile, vaginal and vulvar cancers.

HPV testing pinpoints the presence of high-risk HPV types in cervical cells. The test can detect HPV infections that cause cell abnormalities, sometimes even before the abnormalities are evident. With the HPV vaccine, routine Pap tests and HPV testing, we can prevent cervical cancer and dysplasia.

Cervical cancer prevention

The best thing you can do to reduce your risk of cervical cancer is to have a gynecologic exam performed by a health professional every year. You also can reduce your risk by:

  • Getting the HPV vaccine
  • Getting a Pap test
  • Using condoms
  • Not smoking
  • Limiting the number of sexual partners

Cervical cancer screening

Your chances for recovery are better when you find cervical cancer early. Death from cervical cancer is nearly 100% preventable with routine cervical cancer screening.

The Pap test is a simple procedure done as part of your pelvic exam. A small sample of cells is collected from the cervix, transferred to a slide and viewed under a microscope.

  • Screening should begin within 3 years after a woman begins sexual intercourse or by age 21.
  • New American Cancer Society guidelines suggest that it may be safe for some women to have Pap tests less than annually. You should discuss this with your doctor.
  • If you are at high risk, your doctor may perform screening exams more often.

If your Pap test shows abnormal cell growth, your doctor may want to do more tests to diagnose you.

Cervical cancer is preventable, thanks to a vaccine that targets cancer-causing HPV (human papillomavirus). Lori Spoozak, MD, gynecological oncologist at The University of Kansas Cancer Center, says we must do more to support the vaccination of girls and boys against this deadly virus.

Request your appointment today.

To make an appointment at The University of Kansas Cancer Center, call 913-588-1227.

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