What Do You Know About Cervical Health?

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month

The human papillomavirus, or HPV, is responsible for nearly all cases of cervical cancer in the U.S. HPV is very common and is spread through sexual activity, which is why it is recommended that pre-teens received the HPV vaccine.

According to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition, roughly 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the U.S. each year. A pap test can detect potentially dangerous changes in cervical cells that might indicate cancer. Since certain genotypes of HPV are responsible for approximately 70% of cervical cancers, testing for these particular variations can help your physician better assess your risk and determine the right screening schedule for you.

According to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition, symptoms can include any of the following:

  • Abnormal bleeding, such as bleeding between regular menstrual periods, after intercourse, or after menopause
  • Pelvic pain not related to your menstrual cycle
  • Heavy or unusual discharge that may be watery, thick, and possibly have a foul odor
  • Increased urinary frequency
  • Pain during urination

The good news is that cervical cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancer, so make sure you talk to your doctor about getting the screening you need to identify or prevent this disease.

For more information on cervical health, visit the National Cervical Cancer Coalition’s website.


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