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.

top of page

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.

top of page

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.

top of page

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.

top of page

Where can I get more in formation on cervical health?

top of page