January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

Cervical Cancer is a preventable disease. It’s caused by a virus called HPV – human papilloma virus- which is sexually transmitted.

The evaluation needed for cervical cancer screening includes a pelvic and vaginal exam, a pap smear and an HPV test.

A pap smear uses cells of the cervix to look for abnormalities such as precancerous changes.

HPV tests are recommended after the age of 30 and they look for the virus that is responsible for precancerous infections.

If an abnormal pap smear or HPV is found, then, the evaluation may include a test called colposcopy which uses a magnifying instrument to look for abnormal areas on the cervix.

A biopsy is then taken and evaluated under the microscope.

Prevention of serious HPV disease is available by using the HPV vaccination that both young girls and boys can get.

Cervical HPV disease can be treated on the cervix by laser therapy and surgery. In advanced cases, a hysterectomy maybe needed.