Invasive cervical cancer holds the eighth position in most occurring cancer in the United States, with more than 13,800 women diagnosed with it, where 4000 die from the disease annually. January is cervical cancer awareness month. With the help of renowned gynecologists and obstetricians, American Cancer Society, focuses in increasing public awareness and sensitization, offer the best treatment options and resources with updated information regarding cervical cancer.
Most Appropriate Time to Get Tested For Cervical Cancer
January is not only the most appropriate time to book an appointment with a gynecologist or obstetrician for a cervical screening test, but any time of the year is suitable. However, different age groups have different testing options. At 21-29 years, it’s most recommendable to go for a Pap test and wait for three years to get another test. Between 30 to 60 years, a doctor can recommend three different screening options such as HPV test only, Pap test only, or a combination of Pap and HPV test. For women above 65 years, a gynecologist can recommend not to be screened anymore, if the previous year’s results were normal or the cervix was removed through a hysterectomy.
Fundamental Vital Aspects to Understand Before Booking Cervical Screening
1. Be optimistic about the screening and Speak Up if you feel Pain.
Many women believe cervical cancer screening is painful; thus, they feel uncomfortable about the process. Therefore, it’s recommendable to be at ease while the speculum is being inserted, and in case of some pain, inform the gynecologist immediately.
2. Go for Regular Screening Even if you have Been Vaccinated.
In most instances, 10 percent to 30 percent of cervical cancer cases are caused by Human Papilloma Virus subtypes, which cannot be prevented through vaccination. So, it’s good to go for an HPV test after every five years and a Pap test every three years.
3. If you are on your Period, Don’t go for screening.
It’s always recommendable to book an appointment with doctor 14 days before your period starts. If screening is carried out at this time accuracy of the results might be affected owing to blood cells shed during your periods.
How to Prevent Cervical Cancer
The most crucial ways to prevent cervical cancer is through regular screening and HPV vaccination if eligible. To reduce exposure to HPV, it’s recommendable to avoid sex with people who have multiple sex partners, use condom protection and reduce smoking since it lowers the risk of cervical pre-cancer.