Prioritizing Our Health: Prevention and Detection of Cervical Cancer

The health of every individual requires continuous attention and care.

When it comes to cancer, prevention and detection are fundamental pillars in the fight against the disease.

Prevention and detection are crucial in combating all types of cancer, such as cervical cancer.

There are two main ways to prevent cervical cancer. The first is through the HPV vaccine, and the second is with a Pap smear.

What is the HPV Vaccine?

HPV is an extremely common virus transmitted through intimate skin-to-skin contact.

Almost everyone will have HPV at some point in their lives. While most cases do not cause cancer, some can lead to cervical cancer, as well as oropharyngeal, anal, vaginal, vulvar, and penile cancer.

Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent these types of cancer in the future.

The HPV vaccine is recommended for everyone, regardless of gender, between the ages of 9 and 26.

In addition to vaccination, it is important for all individuals with a cervix to undergo cervical cancer screening starting at age 21.

What is Cervical Cancer Screening?

Screening, the second way to combat this disease, is when we look for early signs of cancer before symptoms begin.

We can perform cervical cancer screening tests with a Pap smear or an HPV test.

The Pap smear, or Pap test, is used for cervical cancer screening. During the procedure, a healthcare professional takes a sample of cells from the cervix and sends them for analysis.

An HPV test is similar to a Pap smear. For this procedure, your provider will take a sample from your cervix to detect signs of HPV.

Depending on your provider, you may be offered a Pap smear, an HPV test, or both.

Regular cancer screening tests, such as Pap smears or HPV tests, are important because they provide the opportunity to detect cancer or abnormalities that could become cancer when treatment is most effective.

In addition to detecting and preventing cervical cancer, Pap smears and HPV tests are also important for our reproductive health.

Screening and early treatment of conditions such as cervical infections or precancerous lesions can preserve the health of the reproductive system.

Final Recommendations

Vaccination and screening are essential tools in the fight against cervical cancer. Talk to your doctor about the HPV vaccine and, if you have a cervix, the best screening program for you.

Visit the Dana-Farber booth for detailed information and guidance from bilingual experts on early detection, treatments, and support for those affected by cancer.