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January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

January 2016

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) causes almost all cancers of the cervix (cervical cancer) and can also cause genital warts or cancers of the mouth, throat, genitals, or anus. The virus is passed during unprotected vaginal, oral, or anal sex.

The HPV vaccine can help prevent becoming infected with the kinds of HPV that can cause cancer or genital warts. It is recommended and available to both males and females, between the ages of 9-26.

What can I do to prevent cervical cancer?

  • Get vaccinated with the HPV vaccine, which is available at Central District Health Department (CDHD) or your health provider.
  • Have regular screening tests, which can be done at CDHD Reproductive Health.
  • There are two tests that can help prevent cancer of the cervix:
    • Pap test (or Pap smear), which looks for abnormal cells that may become cervical cancer.
    • HPV test, which tests for the virus that can cause abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix
  • Limit the number of sex partners.
  • Use condoms during sex (vaginal, oral, or anal.)
  • Don’t smoke and if you do smoke, quit. Smoking causes changes in the cervix that can make you more likely to get cancer from HPV infection.