Stop cervical cancer before it starts

The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 14,000 new cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2021, and more than 4,200 women will die from cervical cancer.

The good news is that studies show up to 95 percent of cervical cancers can be detected by testing.1,2

Mother smiling with daughter

What is cervical cancer? 

Cervical cancer occurs in the cells of the cervix—the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. Various strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection, play a role in causing most cervical cancer. And all women are at risk for this type of cancer.

What can you do to protect yourself?

Cervical cancer is not just a treatable disease—it’s preventable. It can develop relatively slowly over time, making early detection of cervical pre-cancers the best way to treat it.

The HPV vaccine is for girls and boys, and adults. Talk to your provider and your children’s provider about an HPV vaccine to help minimize the risk of cervical cancer.

  • Children should receive two shots of HPV vaccine at least 6 months apart at ages 11 or 12, finishing the two-shot series before their 13th birthday.
  • Teens and young adults who did not start the HPV vaccine series before they turned 15 will need three shots within six months for best protection.
  • Teens, young adults, and women through age 26 who have not received the HPV shots should ask their doctor or nurse about getting them now.
  • Adults age 27–45 should talk with their doctor about the HPV vaccine and if it’s necessary for them.

The HPV vaccine does not replace the need for regular Pap tests and pelvic exams.

If you're an adult woman, schedule a yearly exam with your primary care provider, OB/GYN, or other health professional.

  • Women who are age 21-29 should have a Pap test every three years.
  • Women age 30-65 should have a co-test (a Pap and an HPV test together) every five years or a Pap test alone every three years. (You may need to screen more often if you have a history of abnormal test results.)

For Capital Blue Cross members, screenings and vaccines may be covered as part of your preventive care.

So, call your preferred health professional today and start getting on a routine schedule. Start getting screened to stop cervical cancer in its tracks.

Interested in health and wellness information? Visit the Capital Journal for more articles.

Sources: American Cancer Society

1US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health

The information provided is meant for a general audience. Capital Blue Cross and its affiliated companies believe this health education resource provides useful information but does not assume any liability associated with its use.