Cancer Focus on Women

It’s not too late to vaccinate: Prevent cervical cancer with the HPV vaccine

Guidelines for cervical cancer vaccine and screening

Cervical cancer was once one of the most common causes of cancer death for American women. Today, the number of deaths from cervical cancer has declined, mainly due to the effectiveness of regular Pap test screening in detecting early pre-cancers and recently the increase in HPV vaccinations.

Two vaccines for HPV (the human papillomavirus), a leading cause of cervical cancer, are available. Both have been rigorously tested and found to be safe and effective.  “A vaccine against the two types of HPV that cause 70 percent of all cervical cancers can reduce the risk of infection even further,” said Dr. Sharad Ghamande, Director of Gynecology Oncology at the Georgia Cancer Center.

Guidelines for cervical cancer vaccine and screening

Who should get the HPV vaccine?

  • Girls and boys starting at age 11.
  • Young adults up until the age of 26.
Who should receive Pap screening?
  • All women should get yearly Pap tests starting about three years after they start having sex or no later than age 21.
  • Beginning at age 30, most women who have had three normal Pap test results in a row may be tested less often – every two to three years. After age 30, your primary care physician may recommend a Pap/HPV co-test.

HPV prevention is about cancer prevention.

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About the author

Augusta University Health

Based in Augusta, Georgia, Augusta University Health is a world-class health care network, offering the most comprehensive primary, specialty and subspecialty care in the region. Augusta University Health provides skilled, compassionate care to its patients, conducts leading-edge clinical research and fosters the medical education and training of tomorrow’s health care practitioners. Augusta University Health is a not-for-profit corporation that manages the clinical operations associated with Augusta University.