Cervical cancer is preventable. It is one of the few cancers not passed down through family genes but is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Sanford Cancer wants you to know the recommended steps to stop this disease in its tracks.
A Pap test will be the first screening you will have starting at age 21. You should continue to have one every three years until age 29 as long as no abnormalities are found. A Pap test involves taking a swab of the cells in the cervix, which is the lower end of the uterus. This is also often referred to as a Pap smear.
When you turn 30, you should also begin having HPV tests. Much like a Pap test, this also uses the cells from the cervix to look for any indication of the human papilloma virus. You should have an HPV test done every five years until the age of 65 or continue to have the Pap test done by itself every three years.
If you have had fairly normal results throughout all of your Pap and HPV tests, women can stop being tested for cervical cancer at age 65.
To schedule a cervical cancer screening, call your primary care physician or Sanford Women’s at (605) 328-7700