You've probably heard of cervical cancer. And with all of the recent media coverage, you may have also heard of HPV, the virus that causes cervical cancer. But there are some facts you may not know - like the fact that cervical cancer is preventable! So read on to learn how you can prevent cervical cancer. And when you've got the facts down, we urge you to Say Something - to your doctor, your family and friends, your co-workers, and all of the women in your life. Together we can help end cervical cancer.
The Basic Facts that Every Woman Should Know
Like it or not, most women have learned that they should visit a healthcare provider for their "annual Pap." But, for many women, the details about what the doctor is looking for - and why it's so important - are a little foggy.
Here are the facts:
- HPV (human papillomavirus) causes cervical cancer. It is a sexually transmitted virus so common that most people will get it at some point in their lives. Certain types of HPV can cause harmful changes in a woman's cervix - which if left untreated could cause cervical cancer.
- Cervical cancer is preventable. Because we know that HPV causes cervical cancer, there are screening methods and a new vaccine that can save women from ever getting this disease!
- The Pap test, a.k.a. Pap smear, looks for cell changes in your cervix that may lead to cervical cancer.
- The HPV test looks for the virus that causes these cell changes.
- The HPV vaccine can protect girls and young women (ages 9-26) from two of the types of HPV that can cause 70% of cervical cancers.
- All girls and women who receive the vaccine will still need to be screened with a Pap test, and when appropriate, an HPV test.