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Here are the facts about cervical cancer and when to get screened*:

  • Cervical cancer is caused by changes in the cervix.The cancer is most common in women ages 35-55 and is almost always caused by a virus called human papillomavirus (HPV). There are many types of HPV, and some of them lead to cervical cancer. HPV is a common sexually transmitted disease that millions of women carry.
  • Through a preventive screening, you can identify cervical cancer early.
  • There are two tests that screen for cervical cancer — the Pap test and the combined Pap/HPV test.
  • The Pap test alone can detect cervical cancer early, when it is most curable. The combined Pap/HPV test increases the chances that abnormalities will be detected in time to treat them successfully.
  • Women ages 21 to 29 should get only the Pap test, and they should have the screening every three years.
  • Women ages 30 to 65 should get the combined Pap/HPV test, and they should have the screening every five years.

*These recommendations come from the National Cancer Institute and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Consult with your doctor to confirm that a screening is appropriate for you.

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Dr. Guido discusses the importance of cervical cancer screening.

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