Unlike many form of cancers, there are steps you can take to prevent cervical cancer. The most common preventive measures include:
- Safe sex – all methods capable of preventing STDs are necessary in preventing cervical cancer. Protect yourself by practicing safe sex. Using condoms during sexual intercourse may help you; however, condoms do not cover all your genital area during sexual activity, some viruses such as HPV can be spread by skin contact, and infect even a person who is wearing condom.
- Prevent HPV infection – although all HPV infections do not cause cancer of the cervix, HPV is the major risk for developing cervical cancer. Avoiding or treating effectively HPV infections is decreasing considerably your risk of developing cervical cancer.
Even if you have been infected in your teens or early adulthood, the risk is still there; have routine Pap tests to detect any formation of cancerous cells in your cervix before they become serious complications.
- Get vaccinated against HPV – vaccination against HPV is one of the safest methods to prevent cervical cancer. It is important to be vaccinated before having an HPV infection, because the vaccine is effective against future HPV infections and not current infections. Gardasil is a vaccine approved in Canada and the United States in the prevention of HPV infection.
- Have routine Pap tests – If you’re sexually active, it is recommended that you have a Pap test and pelvic exam at least every 3 years. If you’re at risk, your doctor may schedule you once a year. Even if you stop having sex, it is important to continue to have a Pap test regularly; this helps your doctor to detect precancerous cells in their genesis before they become cancerous.
- Other precautions – cervical cancer is more frequent among women who are polygamous (having multiple partners) or have had their first intercourse early in life. Therefore, reducing those two can also help reduce your risk developing cervical cancer. In addition, stopping or quitting smoking may also decrease your chance of suffering cancer of the cervix.