There are currently two tests that can either help prevent cervical cancer or help in early detection:
The Pap test (or Pap smear) looks for pre-cancerous cell changes on the cervix that can be treated, so that cervical cancer is prevented.
The HPV (Human Papilloma virushuman papillomavirus) test looks for the virus that can cause these cell changes.
The Pap test can find cervical cancer early, when treatment is most effective. It is currently one of the most reliable and effective cancer screening tests available and is recommended for women ages 21-65 years old.
However, the Pap test only screens for cervical cancer. The key to prevention of cervical cancer is:
Regular gynecologic examinations and screenings
Limiting the number of sex partners
Using a condom during sex
If you have not had a Pap test or gynecologic examination in the past three years, you are encouraged to make an appointment to schedule an exam with your primary care provider.
This message is brought to you by your local Community Health Center - Redwoods Rural Health Center at 101 West Coast Rd., Redway, 707-923-2783.