Learn How to Reduce Your Risk of Cervical Cancer
In a previous article, we talked about the various risk factors of developing cervical cancer. But how would you go about actually reducing your risk. If you are a young woman in today’s society, you might be concerned and wondering what you can do. Here are some suggestions.
First off, one of the main things you can do is to get regular pap tests. All girls and women should have regular Pap tests starting at the age of 18 or when they become sexually active, whichever comes first. Many physicians believe that even virginal women should begin regular Pap tests at the age of 18.
Women who have had a hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus) and those past menopause still need to have regular Pap tests. The HPV vaccine does not eliminate the need for regular tests. Because the vaccine does not protect against all forms of cancer-causing HPV and because it is not effective for a woman who already has HPV, Pap screening remains crucial for preventing cervical cancer.
Women who have had four normal Pap tests in the previous 10 years may discontinue Pap tests at the age of 70.
Note: There are factors that might affect the results of your Pap test. Do not schedule a test when you are menstruating. Do not douche, use contraceptive creams or jellies the day before the test.
Another thing you can do is to stop smoking if you are doing so. If not, then don’t start. Smoking is clearly linked to cervical dysplasia which is the changing of cervical cells from normal to abnormal. Stopping smoking is one of the best ways to prevent the development of cervical cancer.
Although HPV can be passed from skin-to-skin contact, using condoms during sexual intercourse is one way of reducing your risk of getting HPV, the virus that causes most cervical cancers.
If you are a young woman or you have a daughter, consider the HPV vaccine
The newly approved HPV vaccine protects girls and young women, between the ages of 9 and 26, from the strains of HPV that cause most cervical cancers. It is most effective when administered to girls before they become sexually active.
Laura Guthrie is a former cancer patient who successfully recovered. She now shares her best of the best information to give back.