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January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month.  Next to breast cancer, it’s the second most common type of cancer for women worldwide. In the United States, an estimated 14,480 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2021. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 4,200 women will die because of this diagnosis.

Women of all ages are at risk of cervical cancer. This cancer forms in tissues of the cervix — the organ connecting the uterus and vagina. According to this study, most diagnoses occur in women between 35 and 44, with the average age of diagnosis being 50. About 20 percent of cervical cancers are diagnosed after age 65. Experts suspect it is because these women did not receive regular cervical cancer screenings before age 65.

 

Here are five important facts about cervical cancer you should know.

 

#1 – What Causes Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer is commonly caused by a form of human papillomavirus (HPV), a common virus that can be transmitted through sexual activity. HPV can be present for years without causing any symptoms and can be passed on to others without knowing. The Centers for Diseases Control reports more than 20 million people are currently infected with HPV worldwide, and another 6.2 million will contract the virus each year.

#2 – What are the Symptoms of Cervical Cancer?
Early-stage cervical cancer often presents no symptoms, which is why it is often referred to as a “silent killer.” But as the disease advances, signs and symptoms will be hard to ignore. Examples include pelvic pain, abnormal bleeding, painful urination, unusual discharge, abnormal menstrual cycles, pain or bleeding after sex, anemia, urinary incontinence, and back pain. 

#3 – When Should Cervical Cancer Screenings Start?
Experts at the American Cancer Society recommend women begin cervical cancer screenings at age 21, with women ages 30 to 65 being screened with both the Pap test and the HPV test annually. Most women who develop cervical cancer have not been screened in at least five years, and about half of them have never been screened in their lifetime. Screening allows for early detection, often allowing medical professionals to stop cervical cancer even before it starts. 

#4 – What are the Risk Factors for Cervical Cancer?
Several risk factors can increase your chance of developing cervical cancer. Women who smoke are about twice as likely as non-smokers to get cervical cancer.  Someone who became sexually active at a young age (younger than 18) or has many sexual partners. Research also suggests that long-term use of oral contraceptives can increase the risk. Family history can also be a factor. Women with a sister or mother who had cervical cancer are two to three times more likely to develop the disease. 

#5 – Can you Prevent Cervical Cancer?
Because cervical cancer is typically caused by HPV, the easiest way to prevent cervical cancer is to get an HPV vaccine. The vaccine helps your immune system create an antibody response that protects your body against the infection. A Pap smear can detect abnormal changes to the cervix before they develop into cancer. More than half of the women in the United States who get cervical cancer have never had or rarely had a Pap smear. Women need to make an appointment with a primary care physician or gynecologist to have this test completed. 

The HPV test is a screening test for cervical cancer. The test detects the presence of HPV. Unlike a Pap smear, a doctor’s appointment is not necessary. Any Lab Test Now offers  HPV Home Collection Kits available online for purchase. Women can take a vaginal swab in the privacy of their own homes. The HPV test from Any Lab Test Now is highly accurate, and test results are usually back within two to three days after the lab receives the specimen. A positive HPV test result can be alarming, but it does not mean cancer. However, it does require follow-up with your healthcare provider.

New Year, Better You…Take Care of Yourself 

Any Lab Test Now wants you to take care of yourself. We provide a safe and clean alternative location for lab work, including HPV testing to monitor signs of cervical cancer. Create a fresh start in 2022, utilize Any Lab Test Now for access to 8000+ lab testing options designed to help you monitor the health of your body. Each of our 200+ locations is sanitized several times a day, in accordance with recommended cleaning practices. 

We want you to Take Control of Your Health® when it comes to seeking out any type of lab work, including determining the health of your thyroid. Any Lab Test Now is a committed partner in helping you manage your family’s healthcare so you can make educated decisions that will directly affect your quality of life. 

Find your closest Any Lab Test Now store at www.anylabtestnow.com.