Friday, June 5, 2009

DIY: How To Prevent Cervical Cancer

How to Prevent Cervical Cancer

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

All women are at risk for cervical cancer. With regular screening tests and follow-up, cervical cancer is the easiest female cancer to prevent. It is also highly curable when detected and treated early.


  1. Know that almost all cervical cancers are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV).
  2. Be tested. There are two tests that are most often taken to prevent and detect cervical cancer. These are:
    • The Pap test (also known as Pap smear). This test looks for precancers, changes in the cells on the cervix that could evolve into cervical cancer if left untreated. The test can find cervical cancer early, when treatment is most effective. The Pap test is one of the most reliable and efficient screening tests attainable.
    • The HPV test. This test checks for the virus that can most often causes cell changes.

  3. Start getting routine Pap tests at age 21, or within three years of having sexual intercourse for the first time (whichever comes first). Continue getting a Pap test regularly, even if you believe you are too old to have a baby, or you have stopped having sex.
  4. Visit your doctor regularly for a check-up that may include a pelvic exam.
  5. Get the HPV vaccine. The vaccine, Gardasil, can prevent 4 types of HPV infections, including the infections that cause most cervical cancers. Talk to your doctor to find out more about this vaccine and if it is right for you.
  6. Don’t smoke. Smoking increases your risk for cancers.
  7. Use a condom during sexual intercourse.
  8. Limit your number of sexual partners. Maintaining a long-term monogamous relationship with a partner free of STDs reduces your risk for contracting HPV.


  • The HPV test may be used for screening women 30 and older, or for those who have uncertain Pap test results.
  • If you are over 65 and have had normal Pap test results for a few years, or if you have had a hysterectomy, your health care provider may tell you it is fine to stop having regular Pap tests.
  • You are more likely to get HPV if you began having sex at a young age, or if you or your partner have had sex with multiple partners.
  • Cervical cancer does not usually have signs and symptoms. Advanced cervical cancer may cause unusual bleeding, such as bleeding after sex, or abnormal discharge from the vagina.
  • Always follow up with your doctor if your test results are not normal.
  • For those who have no insurance or a low income, The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program may be able to help you with testing. To learn more, visit


  • Having HIV increases your risk of getting cervical cancer.
  • The HPV vaccine does not provide protection against all types of HPV that cause cervical cancer.

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Prevent Cervical Cancer. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.


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