There are some simple steps that you can take now to help prevent developing cervical cancer in the future.
1. Get the HPV vaccine. Vaccines are available to girls and women ages 11 through 26 to protect against the types of human papillomavirus that cause most cases of cervical cancer. If you're older than 26 and therefore don't qualify for the vaccine, be sure to get tested for HPV.
2. Get regular Pap tests. This test, also called a Pap smear, can detect changes in the cells of the cervix prior to them becoming cancerous. Treatment of any non-cancerous conditions can help prevent them from ever becoming cancerous in the future. Your doctor can tell you whether an annual Pap test is right for you or if you should be tested more or less frequently.
3. Limit the number of sexual partners you have, and always practice safe sex. HPV is a sexually transmitted disease that affects both men and women. The fewer sexual partners you have, the lower your risk of contracting the disease and developing cervical cancer. Likewise, the use of condoms has been linked to a lower incidence of cervical cancer.
To learn more about practicing safe sex, HPV vaccines, screenings for HPV and cervical cancer prevention, talk with your doctor. If you need to find a doctor, simply use our online Find a Physician service or call us at 1-855-868-6262.