Detecting Cervical Cancer
September 3, 2022, 4:13 am
Cervical cancer is cancer that starts in the cervix, which is located at the lowest part of the uterus. Early signs of cancer can be detected with a pap test (or pap smear). This is when a doctor takes a sample of cells from the cervix during an exam and checks to see if the cells are normal, or if there are any cancerous or precancerous cells present. Your doctor may also test for HPV (human papillomavirus) since some strains of HPV can increase the risk of developing cervical cancer.
Detecting cancer early can make it much easier to treat. It may even be possible to prevent cancer from developing if abnormal cells are found during routine screening. The United States Preventive Services Taskforce recommends screening for cervical cancer every 3 years, typically starting at age 21. Talk to your doctor about scheduling a screening.
To learn more about pap tests and how to prepare, see “What Should I Know About Screening?” from the CDC.
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