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Cervical Cancer Awareness

You Can Prevent Cervical Cancer

What is Cervical Cancer?
Every year, about 15,000 women in the United States learn that they have cancer of the cervix. Cervical cancer begins when normal cells of the cervix slowly change into pre-cancer cells. These cells can then turn into cancer. The change can take many years, but sometimes it happens faster. The good news is that cervical cancer is nearly 100 percent preventable and curable if it is detected early.

Risk Factors
While any woman can develop cervical cancer, some are at a higher risk than others. Cervical cancer risk factors include:

  • Human papilloma virus (HPV)
  • Smoking
  • Weakened immune system
  • Chlamydia infection
  • Poor diet
  • Use of birth control pills
  • Having more than three full-term pregnancies
  • Young age at the time of first full-term pregnancy
  • Family history

How to Prevent Cervical Cancer
One of the best ways to prevent cervical cancer is to find and treat pre-cancers before they become true cancers. These pre-cancer cells in the cervix can be detected by having a pap test (pap smear) performed. The American Cancer Society recommends that women 21-64 years of age receive a pap test every one to three years.

If you are due for a pap test, call your PCP or OB/GYN and schedule one today. HAP will be offering several drawings for award certificates in the upcoming year to members who receive a pap test in 2013. Look for information that will be mailed out to you.

To learn more about cervical cancer, including more tips on how to prevent it, visit the American Cancer Society Link Opens in a New Window Web site.

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