Did you know that January is Cervical Health Awareness Month? Cervical cancer is a highly preventable and treatable type of cancer. However, it cannot be treated unless it is diagnosed.
Who needs to be screened for cervical cancer?
According to the American Cancer Society, beginning at age 21, all women should have regularly scheduled cervical cancer screenings. Women ages 21-29 should have a Pap test once every three years, and women ages 30-65 should have both a Pap test and HPV test once every five years. However, women over the age of 65 who have had regular screenings should not be screened for cervical cancer, nor should women who have had their uterus and cervix removed and do not have a history of cervical cancer.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV), is known to cause almost all cervical cancers. Getting the HPV vaccination can help prevent infections causing different types of cancer, including cervical cancer. Because it protects against so many infections, it is recommended that girls and boys should start the HPV vaccine series around age 11.
Most women do not experience any symptoms until cervical cancer becomes invasive and grows into tissue. Once that occurs, symptoms include:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Irregular discharge from the vagina, including blood in discharge.
Catching cervical cancer early greatly increases the effectiveness of treatment. Luckily, it can be detected early if you are having the recommended screenings mentioned above.
To learn more about preventative measures regarding women’s health you should consult with a physician. Go to www.americanfamilycare.com to find a location near you.