What can I do to lower my risk of getting cervical cancer?

You can help lower your risk of cervical cancer in the following ways:

•   Do not smoke

•   Use condoms during sex

•   Limit your number of sexual partners


Get screened for cervical cancer regularly.
The most important thing you can do to help prevent cervical cancer is to have regular screening tests starting at age 21.

Prevent HPV infection. There are two vaccines to prevent HPV infection. HPV vaccines are given as a series of three shots over six months to protect against HPV infection and the health problems that HPV infection can cause.

Gardasil:

•   available for females and males

•   protects against cervical cancers in women

•   protects against genital warts and cancers of the anus, vagina and vulva

Cervarix:

•   available for females only

•   protects against cervical cancers in women


HPV vaccines offer the best protection to girls and boys who receive all three vaccine doses and have time to develop an immune response before being sexually active with another person.

 
HPV vaccination is recommended for preteen girls and boys at age 11 or 12 years.  For teen boys and girls who did not get the vaccine when they were younger, vaccination is recommended for:

•   teen girls and young women are through age 26

•   teen boys and young men through age 21.

Women who are vaccinated against HPV still need to have regular Pap tests to screen for cervical cancer.

 

Other lifelong ways to help prevent cervical cancer might include:

    eat a healthy diet

•   maintain a healthy weight

•   limit alcohol

•   quit tobacco use



Visit Maine CDC www.KeepMEWell.org  for more information