Scared of the thought of cervical cancer? There are things you can do to lower your level of risk for developing the disease.
Cervical Health Awareness Month is an opportunity to increase your knowledge of cervical cancer and find out what you can do to lower your level of risk of developing the disease. Here are some steps you can take to stay healthy.
• Get vaccinated. There are vaccines available for girls as young as 11 years old and women as old as 26 years of age that protect against the types of human papillomavirus (HPV) that cause most cases of cervical cancer.
• Get tested for HPV. This sexually transmitted disease increases your risk for developing cervical cancer.
• Get routine Pap smear tests. A Pap test can detect changes in cervical cells before they develop into cancer. This type of testing is important in early detection of the disease, when it's most treatable. Follow your doctor's recommendation in regard to how often you need to have a Pap test.
• Limit your number of sexual partners. Because HPV is a sexually transmitted disease, the fewer partners you have the lower your level of risk for contracting the disease.
• Practice safe sex. Always use a condom. Proper use of condoms has been linked to a lower occurrence of cervical cancer.
• Don't smoke. Research has shown a link between smoking and cervical cancer. Choose not to smoke and avoid secondhand smoke.
To learn more about cervical cancer including prevention, symptoms and treatment options, talk with your doctor. If you need to find a doctor, use our online Find a Physician service or call our Physician Referral Line at 1-855-665-TMCP (8627).