Cervical Cancer

Information, Symptoms, Treatments and Resources


Cervical Cancer: What Every Woman Should Know

Lower Your Cervical Cancer Risk

Lower Your Cervical Cancer Risk

All women are at risk for cervical cancer. However, you have the power to dramatically decrease your risk:

  • Practice Safer Sex: High-risk forms of HPV, which account for nearly all cases of cervical cancer, are spread through vaginal, anal, and oral sex, and genital-to-genital contact. Use a barrier method of contraception (such as a male or female condom) every time you have sex.
  • Vaccinate Against HPV: The HPV vaccine prevents most cases of cervical cancer by helping your immune system fight off high-risk strains of HPV — before they become a problem. Experts recommend boys and girls be vaccinated at ages 11 or 12, as the vaccine is most effective if you get it before you become sexually active. However, women can be vaccinated up to age 26, and men up until age 21. Talk to your doctor to learn more.
  • Get Regular Pap Tests:  Pap tests can help spot changes in your cervical cells before they develop into cancer, when they’re easiest to treat. Most women should receive Pap tests every three years, starting at age 21. Your doctor can help you determine how frequently you should be screened.
By Jenilee Matz, MPH. Published January 29, 2013. Jenilee is a medical writer, health educator, and triathlete based in Charlotte, NC.