Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers, but it is estimated that in 2019 around 4,250 women died from cervical cancer. There are a few easy ways that you can protect yourself from cervical cancer.
Get screened. There are two screening tests that can help your provider detect changes in your cervix and prevent cervical cancer. The Pap smear and the HPV test. It is recommended that women and people who have a cervix start getting screened at age 21.
Get the HPV vaccine. The vaccine is now available up to the age of 45, but it is more effective the younger you are. By getting vaccinated you protect yourself from HPV which can cause precancerous changes in the cervix. Even if you have one strain of HPV you should still talk to your provider about getting vaccinated to protect yourself from the other eight strains.
Don’t smoke or quit smoking. Smoking has been shown to cause changes in the cervix that can lead to cervical cancer. If you do smoke talk to your provider about your risk, and also about strategies to quit.
Practice safe sex. Use a barrier like a condom or internal condom to create a barrier to protect yourself from contracting an STI. In addition limit the number of sexual partners you have in order to reduce your risk.
Take care of your health. Get enough sleep, eat your veggies, exercise, and manage your stress. A strong immune system has been shown to improve your health and reduce your risk of developing cervical cancer. If you do experience high levels of stress, consider practicing yoga or meditation to help relax.
*None of the information printed here constitutes medical advice. Please speak with your medical provider before making decisions regarding your individual health and medical care.
American Cancer Society: https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/cervical-cancer/statistics