When they occur, these precancerous changes can be called neoplasms in the cervical epithelium (abnormal growth of cells covering the cervix), damage in the squamous epithelium, or dysplasia.
Precancerous cells are classified according to the degree from mild to severe.
Each level is based on an abnormal amount of cervical tissue that can be seen under a microscope.
Not every pre-cancer becomes cancerous. Cervical cancer prevention strategies include a healthy lifestyle, vaccination, and screening.
Testing and early diagnosis can prevent cervical cancer from occurring.
The American Cancer Society recommends that women ages 21-65 have tests such as HPV tests every 5 years, Pap tests done every 3 years, and Pap and HPV tests every 3 years.
Cervical cancer is usually diagnosed in people between the ages of 35-44.
The average age of diagnosis is 50 years. This type of cancer is rare in people under the age of 20.
HPV infection is the main cause of cervical cancer.
More than 90% of all cervical cancer cases in the U.S. are caused by the HPV virus.
HPV16 and HPV18 are the most likely types to cause cervical cancer.
However, HPV infection does not always lead to cancer. Low-risk strains of HPV do not cause cancer.
High-risk strains can put you at risk but are often eliminated by the immune system before they can cause harm.
Persistent, high-risk HPV infections that the immune system can’t resolve can lead to changes in squamous cells or glandular cells in the cervix.
These cell changes can turn into cancer over many years.
Most people infected with HPV don’t know they have it.
You can get HPV from an infected sexual partner unless you’ve been vaccinated to reduce your risk.
Risk factors such as having sex at a young age, having multiple sexual partners, long-term use of birth control pills, family history of cervical cancer…
HPV vaccination is a good way to reduce the risk of contracting hpv strains that cause cervical cancer.
HPV vaccination is recommended starting at 11 or 12.
However, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends vaccinating everyone up to age 26 if you are not fully vaccinated at a previous age.