Pomerene Hospital Blog
Cervical Health 101: What YOU Need To Know
Prior to the development of the Pap test, the leading cause of cancer deaths for women in the U.S. was cervical cancer. Thanks to the Pap test, tens of thousands of women are alive today. The other great advance in recent years has been the development of effective vaccines to prevent cervical disease, such as cervical dysplasia and cancer. Today, you can get the right test and the right treatment for these diseases.
What You Need To Know: Pap 101
- Most women can wait until age 21 to get their first Pap test.
- Pending the results, you may not need another pap for 3 years.
- At age 30, women have a choice to get a Pap test every 3 years. They also have the option to get both a Pap test and HPV test every 5 years.
- You can stop getting Pap tests at age 65 if your test results have been normal for years.
Talk to your healthcare provider about the options for you and your family. The goal is that with proper use of the HPV (Human Papillomavirus) vaccine, many genital tract cancers may just be a memory for future generations.
What is HPV (Human Papillomavirus)?
HPVs are a group of more than 40 viruses that are known to cause benign lesions as well as cancers. These viruses are often sexually transmitted. One of the most significant cancers caused by HPV is cervical cancer.
Today, HPV infections can be prevented by modern vaccines, some of which are listed below.
- Three vaccines are approved by the FDA: Gardasil, Gardasil9, and Cervarix.
- All three vaccines are given through a series of three injections over a six month period. The vaccines are given to both boys and girls between
ages 9-26 generally.
- These vaccines provide nearly 100% protection. The duration of protection of these vaccines is not yet known, but long term studies are ongoing. These vaccines are known to be very safe.
- The vaccines do not treat infection. They provide maximum benefit to persons before he or she is sexually active.
Most private and government insurance plan cover these vaccines. You can learn more at www.cdc.gov
Blog Written By: William Alford, D.O.