How to separate fact from fiction when it comes to your cervical health.

Do you know what causes cervical cancer or how you can lower your risk of developing the disease?  Answer true or false to the questions below to uncover interesting facts about cervical cancer and find out what you can do to prevent it.

1. The majority of cervical cancer cases are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV).
True

There are more than 150 types of HPV and about 15 types are linked to a higher risk of developing cervical cancer. Two types – HPV-16 and HPV-18 – cause about 70% of cervical cancers worldwide.

False

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2. Getting a series of HPV vaccines may help prevent cervical cancer.
True

HPV vaccines help prevent against infection by high-risk types of HPV that may cause cervical cancer. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends vaccination for girls and boys before possible exposure to the sexually transmitted virus. The recommended HPV vaccine schedule is 2 doses of the vaccine at least 6 months apart for individuals ages 9-14 or 3 doses of the vaccine for those starting vaccination at age 15 or later.

False

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3. If you have HPV, you’re going to get cervical cancer.
True

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False

HPV infection is common, and in most cases, the infection clears up by itself. But if the infection doesn’t go away and becomes chronic, cervical cancer may develop over time. There’s no treatment for HPV but detecting cell changes caused by an HPV infection through routine screening tests can help prevent the development of cervical cancer.

4. You only have to worry about cervical cancer when you’re young.
True

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False

Although most cases of cervical cancer are found in women between the ages of 20 and 50, more than 15% of cervical cancers affect women over age 65. One of the best ways to avoid getting cervical cancer is to be screened regularly.

5. Cervical cancer used to be a major cause of death among American women.
True

Cervical cancer was once one of the most common causes of cancer deaths in American women before the introduction of the Pap smear, a screening test that can detect changes in the cervix before cancer develops or can find cervical cancer early. Over the last four decades, the cervical cancer death rate has dropped by more than 60%, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

False

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Date Last Reviewed: November 28, 2017

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD

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