Cervical Cancer Awareness Month Teal Ribbon

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

Cervical Health Awareness Month is a chance to raise awareness about how women can protect themselves from HPV (human papillomavirus) and cervical cancer. HPV is a very common infection that spreads through sexual activity, and it causes almost all cases of cervical cancer.

About 79 million Americans currently have HPV. Many people with HPV don’t know they are infected. And each year, more than 11,000 women in the United States get cervical cancer.

The good news?

  • The HPV vaccine (shots) can prevent HPV.
  • Cervical cancer can often be prevented with regular screening tests and follow-up care.

Cervical cancer screenings can help detect abnormal (changed) cells early, before they turn into cancer. Most deaths from cervical cancer could be prevented by regular screenings and follow-up care.

stethoscope with doctor and patient in background

Three Steps to Good Cervical Health

January is Cervical Health Awareness month. To promote good cervical health, there are three steps we encourage all women to take. These steps are simple and greatly reduce a woman’s chances of developing cervical cancer or cervical dysplasia (the development of abnormal cells in the cervix).

Get Regular Pap Smears

First, one step to good cervical health is getting regular Pap smears. The general guidelines are for for women between the ages of 21 and 29 to have a Pap smear every 3 years if they have had no abnormal cervical cells in the past. Women between the ages of 30 and 65 may have a Pap smear and HPV test every 5 years or a Pap test alone every 3 years. However, what is best in your situation will depend on the recommendations of your doctor.

Practice Safe Sex

In 99% of cervical cancer cases, the HPV virus is present. 1 This sexually transmitted infection (STI) is spread through sexual, skin-to-skin contact. Safe sex helps prevents STIs, and penile penetration is not needed to transmit this virus. Heterosexual and homosexual couples are both at risk. Condoms are not 100 percent effective at preventing the spread of HPV, but studies show that they do provide some protection. 2

Beware of Symptoms

Cervical cancer rarely presents early symptoms. However, you should always report any concerning symptoms you are experiencing to your doctor. Symptoms that may indicate a cervical problem include vaginal discharge, pain during sexual intercourse, abnormal vaginal bleeding and vaginal bleeding after sexual intercourse.


If you have other questions or concerns regarding cervical health, visit our women’s health page to find the contact information for MMG Gynecology and Obstetrics.





1 National Cervical Cancer Coalition. Cervical Cancer Overview.

2 Center for Disease Control and Prevention.  Fact Sheet for Public Health Personnel. 5 March 2013.



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Cervical Cancer Awareness Month Image

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

Most cervical cancers are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), a common virus that is passed from person to person during sex. Two screening tests can help prevent cervical cancer. The Pap test looks for cell changes on the cervix that might become cervical cancer if they are not treated, and the HPV test looks for the virus that can cause these cell changes. HPV vaccines can protect women against the types of HPV that cause most cervical cancers. When cervical cancer is found early, it is highly treatable. The most important thing you can do to help prevent cervical cancer is to get screening tests regularly starting at age 21.

Key Facts

  • Most women don’t need a Pap test every year! If your test results are normal, you may be able to wait 3 years between tests.
  • HPV is the main cause of cervical cancer. Get kids vaccinated against HPV at age 11-12 to help prevent cervical cancer.
  • Early cervical cancer may not cause symptoms. Advanced cervical cancer may cause abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge.
  • If your test results are not normal, talk to your doctor. Cervical cancer is highly curable when found and treated early.

Prevention Tips

  • The most important thing you can do to help prevent cervical cancer is to get screened regularly.
  • If you’re 26 years old or younger, get the HPV vaccine.
  • Use condoms during sex.
  • Limit your number of sexual partners.
  • Don’t smoke.