Almost all cervical cancers are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), a common virus that can be passed from one person to another during sex. There are many types of HPV. Some HPV types can cause changes on a woman’s cervix that can lead to cervical cancer over time, while other types can cause genital or skin warts.
Additional HPV Facts:
- Up to 80 percent of women will contract HPV in their lifetime.
- A healthy immune system will usually clear the HPV virus before there is a symptom.
- Only a small percentage of women with HPV develop cervical cancer.
- HPV vaccines are currently available for people between ages nine and 26.
- A pap test is the preferred way to detect early cervical cancers or pre-cancers in.
If you have a health concern, promptly consult with your healthcare provider.
Cervical Cancer Risk Self-Assessment
- Do you have human papillomavirus (HPV)?
- Have you NOT been vaccinated for HPV?
- Has it been more than three years since your last pap test?
- Do you smoke?
- Have you used birth control for more than five years?
- Have you given birth to more than three children?
- Were you exposed to diethylstilbestrol (DES) before birth?
- Do you have a family history of cervical cancer?
- Do you have an impaired immune system?
- Have you had multiple sexual partners?
- Do you NOT practice safe sex?
- Did you start having sex at a young age?
- Do you have abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge?
- Have you had a sexually transmitted infection such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, or HIV/AIDS?
If you answered “Yes” to any of the above questions, you are at risk for cervical cancer. Women without HPV or any of these other risk factors rarely develop cervical cancer.
Vaccinate early and get pap tests regularly.