Each year, more than 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and more than 4,000 die as a result…

The cervix is the lower part of the womb. It connects the upper part of the womb, where the baby grows, to the vagina. Cervical cancer happens when the cells of the cervix develop changes that eventually turn into cancer.

What causes Cervical Cancer?
Cervical Cancer is mainly caused by a virus called HPV (Human papillomavirus). HPV is a group of viruses that are spread through skin to skin contact, such as through sexual contact. HPV is usually harmless, but some types of HPV cause changes to the cells on the cervix. If these changes are not detected in time, they can lead to Cervical Cancer. Other types of HPV cause genital warts and other types of cancer such as penis, anus, vagina, vulva, and throat cancers.

Who is at risk of HPV infection?
More than half of sexually active men and women are infected with HPV at some time in their lives. Most people infected with HPV will have no symptoms and the body will clear the infection naturally. However, more than 12,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with Cervical Cancer each year, and more than 4,000 women die.

What can I do to prevent Cervical Cancer?
The good news is that if the precancerous cell changes are detected early, they can be treated before Cervical Cancer develops. Cervical Cancer is therefore completely preventable. That is why it is so important to have a Pap test regularly, as well as a HPV test when recommended by your healthcare provider. Women who are no longer sexually active should still have Pap tests because Cervical Cancer can take as long as 20 years or longer to develop.

What is the HPV Vaccine and who can get it?
HPV vaccine protects against the two types of HPV that cause 70 percent of all Cervical Cancer. Experts recommend that girls and young women ages 11-26 be vaccinated against HPV to prevent cervical, vulvar, and vaginal cancers. Both males and females ages 9-26 can also have the HPV vaccine to prevent against genital warts and anal cancer.

If I’ve had the vaccine I’m immune from Cervical Cancer right?
The vaccine does not make you immune against ever getting Cervical Cancer. It protects you against 70 percent of the HPV types that could cause Cervical Cancer, so you are much less likely to get it. It is still important to get Pap tests regularly to detect and treat any other infection early.

To find out if you qualify for a free or low-cost mammogram and Pap test and where to get screened, call: (888) 257-8502

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