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#PublicCervixAnnouncement: Cervical cancer is 93% preventable.

In recognition of Cervical Health Awareness Month
 

Cervical cancer is at least 93% preventable, but most people who get cervical cancer never received a Pap smear or were overdue for one. Take control of your cervical health in 2024 and schedule your Pap smear and HPV vaccine today!

Keep Your Cervix Healthy and Prevent Cancer

Cervical cancer is cancer of the cervix. It’s caused by some types of HPV, a common sexually transmitted infection. More than 4,200 women die of cervical cancer each year even though cervical cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer. The reason? Most who get cervical cancer never received a Pap smear or were overdue for one. Cervical cancer takes years to develop and the changes that occur before cells become cancerous can be found and treated.  Cervical cancer is up to 93% preventable with regular screenings and treatment.  

Anyone who has a cervix is at risk for cervical cancer.

The best way to prevent cervical cancer is by getting regular wellness exams that include HPV and/or Pap tests when you need them. Your doctor or nurse can help you figure out which test(s) make sense for you, and when you should start getting screened.

Pap Smear:

A screening test for cervical cancer to check for any abnormal cells on the cervix that could be precancerous.

HPV Vaccine: Gardasil

HPV vaccines are given in a series of 2-3 shots over 6-12 months, depending on your age.  

The HPV vaccine is approved for ages 9-45.

Patient Testimonial: “A cervical cancer screening saved my life.”

“Planned Parenthood has saved another woman’s life — mine! They caught my cervical cancer caused by HPV just in time before it fully spread. I knew something was off in my body. I listened to my intuition, and I booked an appointment with Planned Parenthood.

Getting my cervical cancer diagnosis was scary, but Planned Parenthood made me feel safe, well cared for, fully seen and heard, and respected. Not only did they get me referral care quickly for my hysterectomy, but their staff also provided me with counseling – everything from my mental health and how I felt about my surgery to the practicalities of helping me find childcare, transportation, and food as I recovered.

It is what amazing, inclusive, total reproductive health care looks like! Planned Parenthood saves lives and if sharing my story encourages someone else to get screened it’s worth it.”

- Statement from PPNNE patient Jennifer

Get Your Pap On-Time, Every-Time

Cancer of the cervix is caused by certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV), the most common sexually transmitted disease. There are more than 200 kinds of HPV. Most of them aren’t harmful and go away on their own. But at least a dozen types of HPV can last and sometimes lead to cancer. Two in particular (types 16 and 18) lead to the majority of cervical cancer cases. These are called high-risk HPV.

Because HPV is such a common infection that usually goes away on its own, most people never know they have it. If you do find out that you have one of the high-risk types of HPV, don’t freak out — it doesn’t mean you have cancer. It means you have a type of HPV that can possibly lead to cancer in the future. That’s why catching it early is so important.

Stay up to date on your cervical screenings:

  • Initial Pap screening at age 21
  • Pap screening every three years for those aged 21–29
  • Pap screening every three years for those aged 30–64 or every five years when those in the latter age group receive combined Pap and HPV tests
  • More frequent screenings for those at higher risk*

 

*Besides HPV, there are other things that increase your cervical cancer risk. Things like, a family history of cervical cancer, smoking, other infections such as chlamydia, and even age (the average age that cervical cancer is diagnosed is 48).  You might need to be screened more often based on these conditions.

 

Take Action Against Cervical Cancer Now

We offer same-day or next-day appointments for Pap smears as part of our annual wellness exam appointments. Our providers are ready to take the time to answer your questions about cervical health and any other reproductive health care concerns you have, including birth control, sexually transmitted diseases, UTI infections, and more!