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Cervical Health

Cervical health is an important women's health issue. Cervical cancer is a risk for all women who are sexually active but with regular Pap tests it can be more than 95% preventable. The Pap test can find cervical cell changes long before they are even cancerous. Early detection of cancer is a powerful aid in protecting health.

Take action now. Take action now. Finding cancer early increases the chances of successful treatment.

What is the cervix?

  • The cervix is a part of the female reproductive system that is found at the top of the vagina and is the opening to the uterus.
  • The cervix is made up of cells which can change. If left untreated these cells can develop into cancer.

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What are the risk factors for getting cervical cancer?

You are at greater risk for cervical cancer if you:

  • Have sex with more than one partner.
  • Have sex before age 18.
  • Smoke or are exposed to second hand smoke.
  • Are infected with Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)

BUT, a woman with none of these risks may also get cervical cancer.

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What can I do to prevent cervical cancer?

  • Woman of all ages who are, or ever have been, sexually active should have regular Pap tests.
  • If you have ever been sexually active you need to have a Pap test every 3 years starting at age 21 until you are 70. Sexual activity includes intercourse, intimate touching or oral sexual contact with partners of either sex.
  • If you are found to have abnormal cells, your cervical cancer screening plan will change.
  • Pap tests can stop at age 70 if you have had 3 or more normal tests in the past 10 years.
  • If you have had a hysterectomy, talk to your doctor or nurse practitioner to see if you still need a Pap test.

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How is a Pap test done?

  • A pap test is done during a routine pelvic exam.
  • Cells are gently taken from the surface of the cervix and "smeared" onto a glass slide. This slide is then examined under a microscope for any unhealthy changes.

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Where can I get more in formation on cervical health?

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