Simple Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Developing Cervical Cancer

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Cervical cancer used to be one of the most common causes of cancer death for women in the United States. But over the last 30 years, the number of cervical cancer cases and deaths has decreased significantly. This is largely because more women are getting screened regularly, allowing doctors to detect and treat abnormal cell changes before they potentially turn into cancer. However, around 14,000 women still develop cervical cancer every year. So, while screening is critical, there are also some simple lifestyle measures you can take to further reduce your risk of developing cervical cancer.

Stay Up-To-Date on Screening Exams

The most important thing you can do is make sure to get regular screening exams, like the Pap test or HPV test offered by your local cancer treatment center or gynecologist. When detected and treated early, cervical cancer has one of the highest survival rates, with over 90% of women surviving five years or more. Guideline recommendations have changed over the years, so talk to your doctor about what tests you need and how often based on your individual risk factors. Routinely getting screening tests can truly save your life.

Consider Getting the HPV Vaccine

Over 90% of cervical cancer cases are linked to high-risk strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is extremely common and often has no symptoms. Getting vaccinated against HPV can massively reduce your future cancer risk. If you’re between ages nine and 26, getting the multi-dose HPV vaccine series is highly recommended by the CDC. But even if you’re older, talk to your local cancer treatment center or primary care provider as the vaccine may still provide protection.

Don’t Smoke and Limit Alcohol Intake

You’ve surely heard that smoking cigarettes is linked to lung cancer and other diseases. However, smoking is also thought to increase cervical cancer risk, especially when combined with an HPV infection. So, if you currently smoke, make quitting a priority to protect your health in many ways. Excessive drinking has also been tied to greater cancer risk, so try to moderate your alcohol intake to safe levels. Every small healthy habit adds up when it comes to cancer prevention.

According to the National Cancer Institute, by 2032, it’s expected that the number of cancer survivors will increase by 24.4%. This is due to the elements mentioned above, as well as the work being done by cancer research and treatment centers. If you’ve already been diagnosed with cervical cancer, a local cancer treatment center can help you get the care you need. Reach out to us at Palo Verde Cancer Specialists today.

Posted 1/22/24

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