Can It Be Prevented?
The most important action that we can take to prevent cervical cancer is to receive regular gynecologic exams that include routine pap smear tests. A pap smear is a cervical cancer screening tool that looks for cervical cell changes, these changes that may lead to cancer. This tool has led to a significant decrease in the incidence of cervical cancer in the last 50 years.
Additionally, testing for HPV virus has made the test more sensitive and it has significantly increased the detection rates. Another great medical advancement has been the HPV vaccines, which can prevent close to 90% of cervical cancers when administered at a young age.
Practicing safe sex and using condoms can prevent sexually transmitted diseases as well as HPV virus infection. Similarly, limiting the number of sexual partners can help. Quitting smoking will definitely help.
1. HPV vaccine protects against the types of HPV that most often cause cervical, vaginal, or vulvar cancers.
2. The HPV vaccine, Gardasil, is recommended for both males and females between age of 9 through 26 and has most recently been approved until age 45.
3. It is recommended to be given in two shots for those younger than 15 and three shot series for those who are older.
4. The vaccine also protects against genital warts that are caused by no-risk HPV types.
5. The HPV vaccination prevents new HPV infections, but does not treat existing HPV infections or diseases.