Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women in the United States and each year, more than 4,000 women die from it. All women are at risk for cervical cancer and the main cause of this cancer is the human papillomavirus (HPV). These facts are helpful in understanding the impact of cervical cancer but more can be done.
Women can reduce their risk for cervical cancer with regular screening tests starting at age 21.
Two screening tests can help prevent cervical cancer or find it early:
• The Pap test (or Pap smear) screens for abnormal cells that may develop into cancer.
• The HPV test screens for the HPV virus that causes these cell changes.
When found and treated early, cervical cancer is curable. The HPV vaccine can prevent most cervical cancers caused by HPV. Talk to your doctor about the recommended screening tests and HPV vaccine. This is your chance to do more to prevent cervical cancer.