Protecting yourself and your children from Cervical Cancer

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The American Cancer Society estimates that nearly 13,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with cervical cancer this year.

The disease can almost always be prevented with vaccinations and screenings according to A Healthier Michigan.

Early detection of the disease can increase the chances of treating it successfully and allows doctors to remove cervical cancer cells before they become dangerous.

Two tests every woman can use to protect themselves are a Pap test or Pap smear and HPV test.

A Pap test looks for precancerous cells on the cervix that, over time, could potentially become cervical cancer.

Most women should get a Pap test every three years, starting at age 21, and can have the test at their OBGYN.

Some people may need to get the test done more often than others depending on age, health history, family history and other risk factors.

An HPV test looks for the Human Papillomavirus which can ultimately put a woman at risk for cervical cancer. A doctor can test for HPV during a Pap test which should be taken every five years starting as early as 30-years-old.

HPV is a sexually transmitted disease, but unlike many STDs, HPV has a vaccine for men and women. The American Cancer Society provides further information on vaccine recommendations for children as young as 9-years-old.

For more information about vaccines, check out Immunization At Every Age.

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