During Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, Boulder Medical Center wants you to know that there’s a lot you can do to prevent this disease. Each year, more than 11,000 women in the United States get cervical cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all women are at risk for cervical cancer, although it occurs most often in women over age 30.
HPV (human papillomavirus) is a very common infection that spreads through sexual activity, and it causes almost all cases of cervical cancer. About 79 million Americans currently have HPV, but many people with HPV don’t know they are infected.
The good news?
- The HPV vaccine (shot) can prevent HPV.
- Cervical cancer can often be prevented with regular screening tests and follow-up care.
The U.S. Office of Disease Prevention an Health Promotion encourages:
- Women to start getting regular cervical cancer screenings starting at age 21
- Parents to make sure pre-teens get the HPV vaccine at age 11 or 12
Teens and young adults also need to get the HPV vaccine if they didn’t get it as pre-teens. Women up to age 26 and men up to age 21 can still get the vaccine.
Thanks to the health care reform law, you and your family members may be able to get these services at no cost to you. Check with your insurance company to learn more.
Taking small steps can help keep you safe and healthy. Ask your primary care or OB-GYN provider how you can prevent cervical cancer.
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