January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

Ten things to know about Cervical Cancer and HPV

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, and with that in mind, here are some facts from the Center for Disease Control you or may not know when it comes to screening, detection, and prevention methods for cervical cancer.

  • HPV (human papillomavirus) is the primary cause of cervical cancer, which also renders it exceedingly preventable with regular screening.
  • Cervical cancer is extremely treatable when detected early.
  • The Papanicolaou (Pap) test, recommended every three years for women between the ages of 21 - 65 years old, reveals precancerous conditions on the cervix that, without proper treatment, could become cancerous.
  • After age 30, women may also opt to add an HPV test to their Pap screening. Normal results on both allows for a period of five years until the next tests.
  • HPV vaccines are also available, and are recommended for both boys and girls at age 11 or 12 years old. It's a three-dose cycle and those who receive all three doses prior to any sexually-related exposure to HPV stand to realize the most benefit.
  • If you were not vaccinated as a child, it is still recommended for men through the age of 21 and women through the age of 26.
  • HPV is spread through oral, vaginal, or anal intercourse with someone who is infected, though usually through vaginal or anal sex - even if a partner has no symptoms.
  • HPV may go away on its own and not result in any health complications. But if it does not go into remission on its own, cancer of the penis, vagina, vulva, anus and/or genital warts may be the result.
  • Using latex condoms is smart whenever you have sex, and can reduce your risk of contracting HPV. However, the human papillomavirus can infect any areas not protected by the condom so you may not get total protection.
  • While there are no direct treatments for the virus, your healthcare provider can treat the resulting conditions, such as genital warts.

For more information, or testing, visit your nearest AppleCare Immediate Care Center.