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Cervical Cancer; Prevention.

Detecting precancerous changes in their earliest stages by having regular Pap tests is the best way of preventing cervical cancer from developing. Reducing or eliminating risk factors associated with the development of cervical cancer can also help prevent it:

* Don't smoke cigarettes.

* Use condoms correctly and consistently to protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases. However, condom use will decrease, but not prevent, the risk of HPV infection because HPV can infect cells anywhere on the skin in the genital area.

To prevent invasive cervical cancer, the American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends having screenings that detect precancer and HPV infection. Early detection and treatment can help prevent cervical cancer from spreading. Most women who develop invasive cervical cancer have not had regular Pap tests.

Guidelines issued by ACS state that screening should begin three years after the beginning of vaginal intercourse, but not later than 21 years of age. If a physician uses regular Pap tests, screening should continue annually to age 30. If a liquid-based Pap test is used, screening can be done every two years, provided results are normal. Once a woman turns 30 and has had three consecutive "normal" Pap tests, screening can be done every two to three years in healthy women with no vaginal symptoms.

According to the ACS women over 30 may also want to consider having a HPV screening test that uses DNA-based technology to detect HPV in addition to the Pap test. The DNA-HPV screening may be done at the same time as the Pap test.

However, women who are at an increased risk for developing cervical cancer (those with new or multiple sexual partners) may be screened more frequently. Women who obtain Pap test results that are not normal should discuss subsequent tests and follow-up with their physicians.

Women who are 70 years or older and who have had three previously normal Pap test results and no abnormal results in the past 10 years may consider stopping screening for cervical cancer altogether.

Women who have had a total hysterectomy (removal of the uterus and cervix) may also choose to stop having cervical cancer screening, unless the hysterectomy was done for cervical cancer or pre-cancer-related reasons or they had previous abnormal Pap reports. If the hysterectomy was done to treat cervical cancer, more frequent Pap screenings may be recommended.

Checkup: Cervical Cancer. Wall Street Journal Online. September 10, 2004. Available at: Accessed September 10, 2004.

"Task Force Announces New Cervical Screening Guidelines." American Cancer Society. Created January 22, 2003. Accessed September 9, 2004.

"New Cervical Cancer Early Detection Guidelines Released." American Cancer Society. Created November 20, 2002. Accessed September 9, 2004. Also see "Task Force Announced New Cervical Cancer Screening Guidelines." National Cancer Institute. Created January 22, 2003. Accessed September 9, 2004.

"Pap Test. Detecting Precancerous Lesions." American Cancer Society. Accessed September 9, 2004.

"Overview: Cervical Cancer." American Cancer Society., Accessed September 9, 2004.

" Cervical Cancer." CancerNet. National Cancer Institute. National Institutes of Health. Accessed September 9, 2004.

"Fact Sheet: Human Papillomavirus and Genital Warts." National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Office of Communications and Public Liaison. July 2004. Accessed September 2004.

"Fact Sheet: Genital HPV Infection." Centers for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Updated August 2004. Accessed September 8, 2004.

American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts and Figures, 2004..Available at: Accessed September 9, 2004.

"FDA Approves Expanded Use of HPV Test" U.S. Food and Drug Administration. March 31, 2003. Accessed September 9, 2004.

"Update on Cervical Cancer Screening" Postgraduate Medicine Online. Vol. 13, No. 2, Feb. 2003. Accessed September 2004.

"New SurePath Pap Test is More Beneficial to Silver Cross Patients/Physicians" Silver Cross Hospital. Aug. 2002. Accessed September 9, 2004.

Waggoner SE. Cervical cancer. Lancet. 2003 Jun 28;361(9376):2217-25. Review.

American Cancer Society. Detailed Guide: Cervical Cancer. Available at: Accessed August 17, 2004.

New Cervical Cancer Fact Sheet. Centers for Disease Control. Available at : Accessed August 4, 2004.

Gynecologic Cancers. NWHRC Health Report, August 2004.

Koutsky LA, Ault KA, Wheeler CM, Brown DR, Barr E, Alvarez FB, Chiacchierini LM, Jansen KU; Proof of Principle Study Investigators. A controlled trial of a human papillomavirus type 16 vaccine. N Engl J Med. 2002 Nov 21;347(21):1645-51.

Editorial Staff of the National Women's Health Resource Center 2002/02/02 2005/03/16 Cancer of the cervix is a common cancer in women, second only to breast cancer in terms of prevalence. It affects an estimated 500,000 worldwide each year. cervical cancer,Cervix,Colposcopy,Dysplasia,HPV,Human papillomavirus,Pap smear,Squamous cells
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Publication:NWHRC Health Center - Cervical Cancer
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 16, 2005
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