Cervical Cancer Awareness

Cervical cancer was one of the most common causes of cancer death among women, but now it ranks 14th. This is mainly due to the routine use of the Pap test which detects abnormal changes in the cervical cells before they develop into cervical cancer. In recent years, an additional type of testing for human papilloma virus (HPV) has been added to the pap smear test.

HPV causes almost all cervical cancers. Most sexually active women and men (80%) will become infected with HPV at some point during their life. However, most HPV infections clear within 24 months via our natural immune response. The ability to test for high-risk strains of the HPV virus has vastly improved cervical cancer screening in recent years.

Women ages 21-29 should have a Pap test every 3 years and women aged 30-65 should get a Pap plus HPV co-testing every 5 years if the HPV co-test is negative. Because these guidelines are relatively new, At SOGA we routinely recommend women aged 30-65 should have a Pap and co-testing every 3 years.

If you have any questions concerning cervical cancer recommended screening guidelines, please ask your SOGA provider.