January is Cervical Health Awareness Month.
Each year, nearly 13,000 women in the United States get cervical cancer. Cervical cancer can be curable if found and treated early. It is the most preventable and the only gynecologic cancer with a screening test (Pap test) and a vaccine. Pap tests can detect changes in the cells of the cervix. It is recommended that women should begin Pap tests at the age of 21. Cervical cancer occurs most often in women over 30 but can occur at any age so regular screening is important.
The human papillomavirus or HPV is also a major cause of cervical cancer. There are many types of HPV. Fortunately, a vaccine that can prevent HPV exists and can be administered as early as the age of 9 for all girls and boys but the recommended age is 11. Women up to age 26 and men up to age 21 can still get the vaccine.
Check with your medical provider and insurance company to learn more about cervical cancer and screening or visit these resources for more information: