Last year, it was estimated that 1500 Canadian women would be diagnosed with cervical cancer. As such, it is imperative to listen to your cervix—and be on the lookout for any strange activity.
The good news: it is estimated that 93 per cent of cervical cancer cases are completely preventable. Here are four tips to up your cervical health game:
- You don’t need a Pap test every year—but you do need a check-up with your gyno.
While Pap tests aren’t required every year (every three years for women in their twenties; every five for older women), you still need to take a seat in the stirrups. This way, your doctor can check for polyps, which may become cancerous. If you are over 30, ensure that when you do get a Pap, they do the Pap/HPV combo test, which will rule out persistent HPV infections.
- Use condoms with new sexual partners.
You never know—he might have HPV and pass it along to you. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, bout 75 per cent of all sexually active men and women will have an HPV infection in their lifetime, so take extra measures to protect yourself with a new partner.
- The HPV vaccine has no age limit.
While it’s recommended for girls and boys aged 9–26, you’re never too old for the needle—get it to give yourself peace of mind.
- You can get cervical cancer without having sex.
Smoking or being around those who smoke can triple your risk for cervical cancer. So, put down the pack and quit the habit to keep yourself in tip top shape!