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Cervical Cancer Prevention

The development of cervical cancer is usually very slow. It starts as a pre-cancerous condition called dysplasia. This pre-cancerous condition can be detected by a pap smear and is 100% treatable.

Undetected, pre-cancerous changes can develop into cervical cancer and spread to the bladder. It can take years for pre-cancerous changes to turn into cervical cancer. Patients with cervical cancer do not usually have problems until the cancer is advanced and has spread.

Almost all cervical cancers are caused by HPV (Human Papilloma Vi- rus). HPV is a common virus that is spread through sexual intercourse. There are many different types of HPV, and many do not cause prob- lems. However, only certain strains of HPV actually lead to cervical cancer.

Can Cervical Cancer Be Treated?

If detected in time, Cervical Cancer can be successfully treated. It is therefore critically important for women to have regular, routine Pap Smears.

What Are Some Risk Factors for Cervical Cancer?

  • Having sex at an early age
  • Multiple sexual partners
  • Sexual partners who have multiple partners
  • Sexual partners who participate in high-risk sexual activities
  • A weakened immune system

Treatment of Cervical Cancer depends on the stage of the cancer:

  • Early cervical cancer can be cured by removing or destroying the pre-cancerous or cancerous tissue.
  • There are ways to do this without removing the uterus or damaging the cervix so that women can still bear children.

Pre-cancer conditions are completely curable when followed up and treated properly.


  • Practice safe sex. Condoms reduce the risk of HPV and other STDs.
  • Avoid unprotected sex if your partner has genital warts.
  • Limit the number of sexual partners
  • Avoid partners who participate in high-risk sexual activities.
  • Get regular pap smears.


Early cervical cancer usually has no symptoms but can include:

  • Continuous vaginal discharge, which may be pale, watery, pink, brown, bloody or foul-smelling
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding between periods or after intercourse
  • Periods become heavier and last longer than usual
  • Any bleeding after menopause

What is a Pap Smear?

A Pap Smear or Pap Test, is a test of a sample of cells taken from the mouth of the womb or uterus (the cervix). The test is used to look for changes in the cells that show Cervical Cancer or conditions that could develop into cancer.

Is A Pap Smear Painful?

A Pap Smear is not painful, but the pelvic exam can be a bit uncomfortable and results can be available within a three-week period.

What Do the Results Mean?

  • A normal Pap Smear means the cells from the cervix look normal and there is no need for concern.
  • An abnormal Pap Smear means the cells do not look normal and may need to be investigated further.

Repeating the Pap Smear

A repeat Pap Smear may be necessary if you had an infection at the time of the test or if enough cells were not collected during the test.

Preparing for the Test

24-48 hours before the test, you should avoid:

  • Douching
  • Having sexual intercourse
  • Taking a tub bath
  • Using a Tampon

(Avoid scheduling your Pap Smear while having your period. The blood and cells from the uterus may affect the accuracy of the results).

Empty your bladder just before the test is done.

Should Virgins Have Pap Smears?

Cervical cancer is generally caused by a sexually transmitted infection called Human Papiloma Virus (HPV). If you’ve never had any type of sexual intercourse, you’re unlikely to have HPV. However, other risk factors for developing cervical cancer include family history and smoking

Talk to your doctor if you have concerns.
For effective cervical cancer screening, it is recommended that all women should have an initial Pap Smear by the age of 21 or after they’ve been sexually active for three years, whichever comes first.