It’s probably not the topic of dinner conversation, but cervical screenings are so important. As women, it is hard enough to find the time for a mammogram, let alone a screening for cervical cancer, but with more than 13,000 women getting diagnosed each year, a cervical cancer screening should be a priority.

January is Cervical Health Awareness month. Here’s something you might not know, the majority of cervical cancers are found in women between the ages of 35 and 44. When detected at an early stage, the 5-year survival rate for cervical cancer is 92%.

The two tests used to detect this cancer are the PAP test and HPV (human papillomavirus) test.  With more than 79 million Americans infected, human papillomaviru is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections, There are very little symptoms, if any, so victims of this infection are commonly unaware of their illness. HPV causes almost all cases of cervical cancer, however, most people with HPV will not get cervical cancer. 

Depending on your age, health status and family history, your doctor will give routine PAP and HPV tests.  The Pap and HPV tests are very simple and only take a few minutes. It’s also important to remember that most health insurances cover well-visits and cervical cancer screenings, so you should be able to receive care with no cost to you.  Ladies, if it has been more than a year since you have seen your gynecologist, please make the time for this important life saving screening.

Learn more about cervical cancer screening guidelines from the American Cancer Society.