Can Cervical Cancer Be Prevented?
Early detection is one of the best ways to safeguard yourself and reduce your risk of cervical cancer or contracting the HPV virus. Lifestyle habits such as sexual intercourse with multiple partners, smoking and neglecting regular screenings can increase your chances of developing cervical, vulvar or vaginal cancers. Safeguard your health by taking measures to reduce your risk factors.
Practice Safe Sex
HPV is the primary virus that causes infections that lead to cervical cancer. You can prevent a positive diagnosis by practicing safe sex and keeping your number of sexual partners to a minimum. Ensure your partner has been tested for sexually transmitted diseases and wear protection to protect your body and your genital area from bacteria. Condoms do not always offer full protection from HPV, but the use of a condom lowers your risks of infection or disease.
Get Routine Pap Tests
A Pap test, also known as a Pap smear, identifies precancerous cell changes on the cervix. Women should undergo Pap tests each year beginning at age 21 to reduce their risks of cervical cancer. Physicians can quickly identify cell changes on the cervix that have the potential to develop into cervical cancer and administer treatment to prevent the disease from forming or progressing. Normal Pap tests often indicate your chances of getting cervical cancer are very low.
Opt for a HPV Test
Many routine tests are optional, but the HPV test is not one to skip. The human papillomavirus, or HPV, test searches for viruses within the body and the cervix that can cause cell changes that lead to cervical cancer. Women should opt for a HPV test each year when they are between the ages of 30 and 65.
Get a HPV Vaccine
As a result of advancements in modern medicine, females can protect themselves from cervical cancer at a young age. Two HPV vaccines have been developed to protect women from types of the virus that cause vulvar, vaginal and cervical cancers. The vaccines are recommended for females 11 and 12 years of age, but they can be administered to girls as young as 9. The vaccines feature a series of shots. Females who were not vaccinated between 9 and 12 can still opt for the vaccine from the ages of 13 to 26 for additional protection from the virus and cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer is a debilitating disease that begins with precancerous changes in the cervix. It is possible to prevent and safeguard yourself from this type of cancer. Know the steps to take to preserve your health and minimize your risks.