January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. More than 13,000 women are diagnosed with Cervical Cancer each year, but this form of cancer can possibly be prevented with preventative testing. We talked to Stacie Beckett, PA-C at Williamson Health and Wellness Center of Williamson, for some information and tips for prevention.
Be Safe. Be Tested.
It’s important to screen regularly for cervical cancer. Stacie says, “You should start regular screenings with pap smears starting at age 21, and if your test results are normal, you can screen every 3 years.” Starting at age thirty, she also recommends regularly screening for human papillomavirus (HPV).
It’s also important to get the HPV vaccine for preteens around 11 or 12 years old. Stacie says, “Vaccination is recommended for preteens aged 11 to 12 years old.” She says other important tips include safe sexual practices, such as using condoms, and limiting the number of sexual partners. Also, avoiding smoking can aid in the prevention of cervical cancer.
If you don’t have a gynecologist that you see on a regular basis, it’s not difficult to access cervical cancer screenings. Stacie tells us, “Most family practice healthcare providers and local health departments offer cervical cancer screening with pap smears and HPV screenings. Lack of local gynecologists should never be a reason a patient doesn't get screened for cervical cancer.”
It’s important to take care of your own health. If you’re at risk for cervical cancer or you haven’t had preventative testing and screening lately, why not call your healthcare provider to schedule your appointment today?